US donates 3,000 metric tonnes of food to feed Sri Lankan school children

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterates support for the people of Sri Lanka


Anu Warrier

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Published: Sat 27 Aug 2022, 9:43 PM

The United States donated 320 metric tonnes of split yellow peas as a part of 3,000 metric tonnes of food to nourish school children across Sri Lanka.

“This donation from the American people targets the most vulnerable Sri Lankans, children and enables them to focus on their schooling rather than on their hunger. Every nourishing meal will be a testament to the US’s commitment to helping all Sri Lankans emerge from the worst economic crisis since the country’s independence,” Ambassador Julie Chung said as quoted in the statement released by US Embassy in Sri Lanka on Friday.

Ambassador Chung, Sri Lanka’s Education Minister Susil Premajayantha, and representatives from the Ministry of Health, the National Planning Department, and Save the Children attended the handover ceremony.

The shipment is part of the USDA McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, a five-year $26 million projects aimed at providing immediate emergency assistance to the food insecure to improve literacy and attendance by reducing hunger.

The USDA and its partner Save the Children work with the Sri Lankan government and local communities to ensure food reaches those most in need.

Between June 2021 and January 2022 alone, the project, called Promoting Autonomy for Literacy and Attentiveness through Market Alliances (PALAM/A), provided protein supplements twice in the form of split yellow peas and Alaskan pink salmon to more than 105,000 children and their families — more than 460,000 Sri Lankans in total — during Covid-19 lockdowns. As of Mid-August, PALAM/A has provided supplemental nutrition to approximately 50,000 schoolchildren.

“The donation reflects the US’ larger efforts to scale up food security operations worldwide to provide record amounts of immediate emergency assistance in order to save lives and alleviate suffering,” the statement reads.

Food security programmes are just one component of the longstanding partnership between the American and Sri Lankan people to support Sri Lanka’s development journey and promote economic sustainability.

In addition to ongoing projects PALAM/A, the US has announced more than $179 million in new assistance to Sri Lanka this year, including nearly $32 million in new humanitarian and technical assistance since June alone.

Earlier this month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry in Phnom Penh on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum and reiterated US support for the most vulnerable people of the crisis-hit island.

Blinken reiterated the United States support for the people of Sri Lanka, highlighting over $179 million in US assistance that will support Sri Lanka’s most vulnerable and bolster the country’s economy in this challenging time.

A US State Department statement by Blinken also emphasized the importance of working with the IMF to put Sri Lanka back on the path to economic stability.

Sri Lanka is battling a severe economic crisis with food and fuel scarcity affecting a large number of the people in the island nation. The economy has been in a freefall since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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