While claiming that millions of the poorest Sri Lankans can no longer afford an adequate diet, a top official of the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) expressed fear that the “situation may get worse in the weeks to come.”

“This makes WFP’s response extremely critical. Our priority is to reach families with life-saving food and nutrition assistance, with children and women at the heart of our response,” WFP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific John Aylieff said, concluding a two-day visit to Sri Lanka.

“The latest WFP surveys show that hunger is rising sharply in Sri Lanka, where nearly half of the households interviewed were facing challenges in accessing food, amid income losses, record levels of food price inflation, disruptions to the food supply chain and severe shortages of basic commodities including fuel,” the WFP said in a statement at the conclusion of the official’s visit.

During his discussion with a group of recipients of WFP’s assistance, Aylieff heard first-hand accounts of how the deepening food crisis is impacting them. Four out of five households are limiting portion sizes and skipping meals to cope, a significant number of urban households are among them. 

Aylieff who met Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Sabry, discussed the immediate priorities in addressing food insecurity in Sri Lanka.