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Crisis for SL children cautionary tale for South Asia: UNICEF

27 August 2022 01:02 am - 3     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


  • Says cannot let children to pay price for crises not of their making
  • Almost half of children in country already require some form of emergency assistance
  • Over 10,000 children are in institutional care in SL, mainly as a result of poverty
  • If current trend continues, hard-earned progress for children in SL is at risk of being reversed 

The “devastating” crisis for children in Sri Lanka is a cautionary tale for South Asia, said visiting UNICEF Regional Director for the SA region, urging for urgent action to be taken to help address the grim situation.

As the economic crisis continues to rattle Sri Lanka, it is the poorest, most vulnerable girls and boys, who are paying the steepest price, pointed out visiting UN official George Laryea-Adjei.

“What I saw in Sri Lanka is a caution for other countries in South Asia,” said Laryea-Adjei while addressing a press briefing in Colombo yesterday to share the observations and outcome of his visit to the island nation.
He stressed that the children cannot be allowed to pay the price for crises not of their making. 

Due to the ongoing economic crisis and escalating cost of living, families are skipping regular meals, as staple foods become unaffordable. The UNICEF observed that children are going to bed hungry, unsure of where their next meal will come from – in a country, which already had South Asia’s second highest rate of severe acute malnutrition. 

Laryea-Adjei highlighted that almost half of children in the country already require some form of emergency assistance. 

The education of 4.8 million children, already severely hampered by two years of interrupted learning, is at risk, as school attendance continues to be jeopardised.

 Children’s education is being hindered by the current crisis in many ways—children no longer get the warm and nutritious meal that they used to have before the crisis; they lack basic stationery and their teachers struggle with transportation.  “More reports are already emerging of increase in abuse, exploitation and violence against children, due to the mounting economic pressure. There are already over 10,000 children in institutional care in Sri Lanka, mainly as a result of poverty,” he said.

The UNICEF senior representative elaborated that such institutions are not the best place for a child to grow up in, as they lack the bond of a family. As a result, the current crisis is pushing more and more families to take their children to these institutions, as they cannot afford to provide for them, including feeding.  “If the current trend continues, the hard-earned progress for children in Sri Lanka is at risk of being reversed and in some cases, erased permanently,” said Laryea-Adjei.  He called on for efforts to be stepped up to place children at the heart of the solution as the country works to resolve the crisis. 

Continuity of learning must be ensured for girls and boys of all ages, so they can prepare for their future and are shielded from the threats of child labour, exploitation and gender-based violence. 



  Comments - 3

  • SM Saturday, 27 August 2022 10:25 AM

    The hard working poor earning foreign currency and building the country by working in estates, factories, and construction sites can’t even afford to feed their children, while the filthy leeches wasting time in government jobs, who brought the country to this plight getting paid with printed money and foreign debt, continue to live in leisure and luxury.

    Jef Saturday, 27 August 2022 11:18 AM

    Very well said our politicians are not interested getting the job done they want to lookafter them self now its been almost 15 to 20 years i hope our Mr president will Fix mooving forward all politicians must take full responsibility to respond the progress

    Punchi Saturday, 27 August 2022 12:53 PM

    We spent our blood and treasure fighting a 30 year war to deny our minorities the rights and dignity we expect for ourselves and as a result have brought several hundred years of poverty on all of us. Sadly we also mistook our cunning as intelligence and destroyed our country

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