Crisis in Sri Lanka escalates
The situation in Sri Lanka continues to deteriorate: shortages of food, fuel, gas and medicines, as well as power cuts of up to 17 hours a day, have led to violent protests in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo. Numerous clashes erupted between government supporters and opponents, as well as the military and police, resulting in the destruction of government buildings, homes and businesses, as well as seven deaths and more than 200 injuries, and dozens of houses of politicians from the president's party set on fire. On Monday, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned with his entire cabinet, and an exit ban is in effect at the moment.
Project planning continues
Despite the current situation, FAIRMED activities in Sri Lanka continue. The rationing of food, gasoline and milk powder makes the daily life of all people and that of our staff expensive. They spend a large part of the day waiting in endless queues so that they can provide for their families. Monitoring projects is a major challenge due to mobility being affected by fuel shortages. In addition, government unrest can make it difficult to contact and work with government officials. Most of our Colombo-based team members are now working from home to oversee our ongoing projects and ensure that subsequent projects, currently in the planning and launch phases, can start as smoothly as possible under these circumstances.
Protests ongoing for weeks
The protests were triggered by deep-rooted discontent over the country's precarious economic situation, with foreign exchange reserves of less than $50 million and rapidly rising inflation. Significant losses in tourism revenues caused by the Covid 19 pandemic, combined with a series of short-sighted government policy measures that have further weakened the economy, have reached a critical point in recent weeks.