Sri Lanka: Colombo's supermarkets run out of food as crisis worsens

People queue for days for essential items, including cooking gas, medicines


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Published: Sat 16 Jul 2022, 11:41 AM

With the political and economic crisis in Sri Lanka continuing to worsen, supermarkets in the capital city of Colombo are rapidly running out of food and other essential commodities.

In the crisis-ridden island nation, people have been waiting in line for days for essentials such as cooking gas, kerosene, gasoline, sugar, milk powder, and medicines. According to UN agencies, 5.7 million Sri Lankans, including about 2.3 million children, now require immediate humanitarian assistance.

Many shelves in supermarkets in Colombo are half empty, according to China Central Television (CCT). Numerous daily essentials, especially eggs and bread, are in short supply as food and transportation costs have risen rapidly.

"The food prices are very high. In the early days of this year, it means 2022, like in January, February and March. After that, the price increases are very high, and the normal food prices got high. And after May, the food prices went up. With the fuel prices, food prices increased. Then transportation prices came to very high," said Nuwan, a local resident as quoted by CCT.

Adding to the food shortage is a serious shortage of fuel, which has dealt a particularly heavy blow to the transportation industry.

"I did not do any business with my vehicle. Because zero fuel token. The last two months, which means 60 days, the only oil we can get (is) 10 to 12 litres. Ten to 12 litres only covers my personal use only. Then how can I do my business, it's completely zero," said Jeevana Aarajji, a Tuk Tuk driver.

After days of uncertainty, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday sent a resignation letter after flying to Singapore. He had first fled to the Maldives on Wednesday to escape a popular uprising over his role in the economic mess of the island nation.


As things stand, Ranil Wickremesinghe is the acting President now. On Friday, Sri Lanka's ruling party said they would nominate interim President Ranil Wickremesinghe to the presidency when the parliament elects a new president on July 20.

General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Sagara Kariyawasam said that the SLPP would nominate Wickremesinghe and support him in the vote.

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