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United States Donates 3,000 metric tons of Food to Feed Sri Lankan School Children

Food security programmes are just one part of the long-standing partnership between Americans and Sri Lankans to support Sri Lanka's development journey and promote economic sustainability.

Shivam Dwivedi
U.S. Ambassador Julie Chung
U.S. Ambassador Julie Chung

The United States donated 320 metric tonnes of split yellow peas as part of 3,000 metric tonnes of food to school children across Sri Lanka through the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and in collaboration with Save the Children.

"This American donation targets the most vulnerable Sri Lankans, children, allowing them to focus on their education rather than their hunger." "Every nourishing meal will be a testament to the United States' commitment to assisting all Sri Lankans in emerging from the country's worst economic crisis since independence," said Ambassador Julie Chung, as quoted in a statement released by the US Embassy in Sri Lanka on Friday.

The handover ceremony was attended by Ambassador Chung, Sri Lanka's Education Minister Susil Premajayantha, and representatives from the Ministry of Health, the National Planning Department, and Save the Children. The shipment is part of the USDA McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, a five-year USD 26 million project to provide immediate emergency assistance to food insecure people in order to improve literacy and attendance by reducing hunger.

The USDA and its partner Save the Children collaborate with the Sri Lankan government and local communities to ensure that food reaches the most vulnerable people. During COVID-19 lockdowns, the Promoting Autonomy for Literacy and Attentiveness through Market Alliances (PALAM/A) project provided protein supplements twice in the form of split yellow peas and Alaskan pink salmon to more than 105,000 children and their families - a total of 460,000 Sri Lankans - between June 2021 and January 2022. PALAM/A had provided supplemental nutrition to approximately 50,000 schoolchildren as of mid-August.

"The donation reflects the United States' larger efforts to scale up food security operations worldwide in order to provide record amounts of immediate emergency assistance in order to save lives and alleviate suffering," according to the statement.

Food security programmes are just one part of the long-standing partnership between Americans and Sri Lankans to support Sri Lanka's development journey and promote economic sustainability. In addition to ongoing PALAM/A projects, the United States has announced over USD 179 million in new assistance to Sri Lanka this year, including nearly USD 32 million in new humanitarian and technical assistance since June alone.

Earlier this month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry in Phnom Penh on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum, reiterating the US support for the island's most vulnerable citizens.

Blinken reaffirmed the US government's support for the people of Sri Lanka, highlighting over USD 179 million in US aid that will help the country's most vulnerable people while also bolstering the economy during this difficult time. Blinken also emphasised the importance of working with the IMF to put Sri Lanka back on track to economic stability in a statement issued by the US State Department.

Sri Lanka is in the grip of a severe economic crisis, with food and fuel scarcity affecting a large proportion of the island's population. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy has been in free fall.

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