July 27, 2022
As reported daily in many countries, Sri Lanka is currently facing an economic crisis that is said to be the worst since independence. The country has been saddled with a large amount of external debt due to infrastructural development, and tourism, which had been a pillar of foreign currency acquisition, has been suffering a major slump due to the COVID-19 pandemic that is continuing from 2020, and the war in Ukraine from 2022 has caused prices to soar as a result of stagnant imports of fuel energy, food and medicines. The largest city, Colombo, is experiencing an inflation rate of more than 50%, leading the Prime Minister to declare and country “bankrupt” on July 5.
The people have been suffering from severe shortages of fuel and food which are indispensable for daily life, for several months and have been hit by frequent and prolonged power outages, Protests against the regime have intensified, forcing the President and Prime Minister to resign, and although a new President and Prime Minister were elected on July 21, the problems are deep-rooted and the turmoil is expected to continue.
OISCA has continued its activities in Sri Lanka, focusing on Children’s Forest Program (CFP) activities, but schools, which are the site of its activities, have been closed due to difficulties in operating school buses and commuting for teachers.
We have been able to confirm that the CFP coordinators and other concerned parties are safe, but since they are unable to move, we are currently keeping in touch with them and keeping a close eye on the situation.
In Sri Lanka. where OISCA activities are led by alumni of former trainees in Japan who have separate main jobs, human resources are limited, and it is difficult to launch new emergency assistance in the midst of turmoil in the lives of the people involved. However, there is also a need for activities that are more in line with the current situation, such as the Home Gardening Program, which we have focused in the recent years to support vegetable growing at home.