The Red Cross aid document has called this a fund for civil unrest – though the grant document alludes to the unrest being a civil society protest. The document says that the social and economic context is highly volatile in Sri Lanka.
The European Union (EU) will provide 200,000 Euros in humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka to support vulnerable families affected by the country’s ongoing economic crisis, the EU Delegation to Sri Lanka and Maldives said.
The fund will give priority to pregnant women, children, people with disabilities, women-headed households and people who have become vulnerable due to the crisis, a statement from the EU Delegation said.
“The current political and economic crisis has resulted in shortages of essential commodities, including of medicines, and has reduced the ability of thousands of families to cater for their basic needs,” the delegation said.
“Many children have also seen their education disrupted due to power cuts and lack of stationery items.”
Red Cross Fund
The funding complements a Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) provided by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
A DREF grant is a soft aid, not necessarily refundable, was released mid-April. The amount of CHF 691,002 released by IFRC works out to approximately 25 crore Sri Lankan Rupees (or 5.4 crore Indian Rupees) and will assist 400,000 people or about 80,000 families in all districts across Sri Lanka. 4,000 families will be provided with cash grants to the tune of CHF 65 to fulfil their basic needs within a month of providing the grant.
The DREF grant also allocates CHF 10,000 for consultants from the total grant money. A small amount of CHF 4,555 has also been kept aside for meeting the needs of volunteers.
The work to make this DREF grant operational on the ground will be carried out by the Sri Lana Red Cross Society (SLRCS).
“In this scenario of an impending humanitarian catastrophe where the vulnerable are made more destitute and helpless, the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society intends to intervene to mitigate suffering,” SLRCS says.
There is scope for DREF grants to be followed by an Appeal for aid in cash, kind and services. It is not clear, however, if an appeal will be launched because major donors are prioritising the crisis in Ukraine.
Civil unrest. Volatile
The Red Cross DREF document has called this a fund for civil unrest – though the grant document alludes to the unrest being a civil society protest, a wording necessitated by the Red Cross’ apolitical nature.
“A major civil society protest was organized in Colombo in front of the Presidential Secretariat, demanding the President’s resignation,” the document says, adding that “The social and economic context is highly volatile within the country.”
Sri Lanka is going through its worst economic crisis in its 74-year post-Independence history with commodity prices sky-rocketing.