Welcome: Food Security Atlas for Sri Lanka
“Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food, and to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”.
World Food Summit Plan of Action (Rome Italy 13 November 1996).
Sri Lanka is a low-income, food-deficit country where 25 years of conflict have had a major impact on economic and social development, aggravated by the 2004 tsunami. Twenty-three percent of the population lives in poverty with major disparities among regions. Malnutrition levels among children under 5 are high, especially in the main conflict areas of the north and east, where 40 percent of children are underweight, 31 percent are stunted and 28 percent suffer from wasting.
WFP has been providing emergency assistance to Iinternally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and other conflict-affected families in the north and east of the country, making WFP the largest external provider of emergency food assistance to some 500,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and conflict-affected people.
Starting mid-May 2008, the security situation in the Vanni, northern Sri Lanka, deteriorated sharply, resulting in multiple displacements of people. The conflict has significantly affected food production, people’s livelihoods as well as eroding their traditional coping mechanisms due to the continued fighting between government forces and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Since the relocation from Killinochchi, northern Sri Lanka, of international agencies in mid-September 2008, WFP has been feeding around 230,000 IDPs trapped in the conflict in the Vanni through dispatching food convoys. WFP, in partnership with the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and other stakeholders, continues to provide food assistance to IDPs who have fled the Vanni to government-controlled areas.
The Jaffna Peninsula remains isolated through closure of the main north–south road; all goods have to be transported by sea and exports are limited, affecting local livelihood possibilities. The food prices are still higher in Jaffna. High food prices will undermine the food security of vulnerable households. Through the Development Project, WFP provides assistance to pregnant and lactating women and infants in the southern part of Sri Lanka. WFP is also running a Special Operation (SO) to augment logistical capacity for the delivery of humanitarian supplies to conflict-affected areas by operating its own fleet of UN-flagged trucks and common logistics hubs.
Food for Peacebuilding and Recovery in Conflict-Affected Areas
WFP is targeting 1.2 million people in eight conflict-affected districts (Ampara, Batticaloa, Mannar, Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Trincomalee, Vavuniya), where these people have lost their livelihoods and the economic means to sustain themselves. Beneficiaries are displaced people, returning internally displaced persons and those affected by the conflict but living in their own homes. The project aims to save lives and protect livelihoods of vulnerable people affected by the conflict. The principal component is targeted relief food distribution. Due to the escalation of the conflict in the Vanni, the emergency response in the north is the priority. Rebuilding activities through food for work or training concentrates on livelihoods and household food security. The specific needs of children and women are addressed through food for education and mother and child health and nutrition activities.
Augmentation of Logistics Preparedness Capacity
The SO was launched on 1 September 2006 to increase WFP emergency preparedness in Sri Lanka and to improve response capacity to new and evolving humanitarian crises. The SO covers increased storage and transport capacity, the pre-positioning of food and non-food items, improved security standards in line with United Nations Minimum Operational Security Standards (MOSS) and the expansion of implementing partnerships with other humanitarian agencies. SO is playing a primordial role in the movement of emergency food aid to the north.
Support to Improve Mother-and-Child Health and Nutrition
WFP is targeting 84,000 children under five years old and pregnant and lactating women in Badulla, Monaragala, Nuwara Eliya, Ratnapura, Hambantota and Anuradhapura, selected on the basis of poverty, food insecurity and under-nutrition prevalence in 2008. The project aims to improve the nutritional status of malnourished children and their mothers, and to enhance capacity for the local production of blended food (Thriposha).
Download Sri Lanka Country Sheet here