Economic Crisis hitting the most vulnerable in Sri Lanka – World Mission Fund support

 The National Christian Council Sri Lanka (NCCSL) are responding to economic crisis in Sri Lanka with assistance for vulnerable communities, farmers, urban poor and ex-combatants – this is supported with £15,000 from the World Mission Fund. 

Click here to support the World Mission Fund for this and similar situations

Crisis in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is reported as currently having the worst economic situation in Asia.  This economic crisis has been fuelled by Covid and exacerbated by various political agendas, corruption mismanagement and overriding debt burden. The suffering caused by the crisis has led to widespread protests against the government.

The relief programme details from NCCSL explain:

A father (37 years) of four took his own life, since he was unable to feed the children and could not bear to face the children. People are becoming desperate, moving towards a slow death, the nation is faced with an unprecedented wave of food shortages, restrictions and economic meltdown not witnessed even during the conflict. 

The beautiful nation previously marred with violence is now faced with acute food shortages and limited supply of essential items. With no answers or solutions in sight, the country is falling into a great abyss, while the authorities seem incapable of relieving the agony of the people. The response is to curtail dissent, restrict the freedom of speech, assembly and expression and move the country toward anti-democratic avenues.

Sri Lanka's economy is facing "mounting challenges" with public debt reaching "unsustainable levels", as stated in the recent the IMF report with the island nation's economy facing the worst economic crisis in Asia. Sri Lanka is currently reeling under a severe foreign exchange crisis with falling reserves and the government is unable to foot the bill for essential imports.

Sri Lanka has been hit hard by COVID-19. On the eve of the pandemic, the country was highly vulnerable to external shocks owing to inadequate external buffers and high risks to public debt sustainability, exacerbated by the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks in 2019 and major policy changes including large tax cuts at late 2019.

The bleak picture of the local economy has come in at a time when the government is coming under increased pressure to seek an IMF bailout as the island's foreign reserves have hit a critical low. The government has steadfastly refused to resort to the IMF even in the backdrop of the ongoing energy and power crisis and shortages of almost all essentials and medicine.  The power generation has been hit by the foreign exchange crisis as fuel to operate power plants is in short supply. Currently there are 7 and half hour rolling power cuts daily.

The impact on the daily lives of people, from lowest income up to the country’s wealthiest, is palpable. Consumers are struggling to afford essentials such as rice, pulses, vegetables, fish, and meat whose prices are soaring, amid import restrictions imposed to save foreign exchange. Consumer price inflation hit 14% last week. Finding LPG cylinders, in short supply, remains a challenge.

People have lost jobs and income sources, with depleted resources small businesses are closing and there is a severe shortage of essential items in the market. When the goods arrive at market, they are often beyond the reach of the masses due to exorbitant price increases. The only option for most people is to reduce the food intake, reduce the frequency of meals and opt for something basic that keeps the hunger in control.

The NCCSL has been severely hampered due to staff shortages and a funding gap for project staff who are in direct contact with the people at the grassroots levels.  Churches have been closed for most part of the last two years and incomes have dwindled especially for churches working with the most vulnerable communities.

The project aims to:

  • Provide Relief packs for most vulnerable families

500 packs

(Rice, sugar, lentils, onions, potatoes, salt, pepper, sprats, tea leaves, curry powder, chili powder, noodles, soya, flour and chick peas.)

  • Provide basic income generation assistance to those who have lost livelihoods

100 packs

(For self-employment in the form of poultry rearing, sewing, home-gardening and running small fruit/vegetable shops, etc., as may be the need in the given locality to earn an income to sustain daily living)

  • Project staffing and implementing

 (Travel costs and allowances for the services of 3 “Animators,” who will liaise with regional community leaders)

  • Project coordination

 (2 NCCSL staff members will be responsible for the entire operation and the project with regular monitoring, including travel to the regions and evaluation)


The emphasis will be on the most vulnerable in dire need, within the church and in the wider community across ethnic and religious divides

Areas focus will be on:

Communities in the plantations (provinces of Sabaragamuwa, Southern, Central and Uva)

Farmers (provinces of North-central, Southern, Eastern and Uva)

Urban poor (Western province)

Ex-combatants (provinces of north and east)


Please continue to keep Sri Lanka and the work of the National Christian Council Sri Lanka, a partner of the Methodist Church in Britain, in your prayers.

To support the World Mission Fund for this and similar situations, please give here. World Mission Fund (methodist.org.uk)