Sea Route Opened To Reach Hungry in Sri Lanka

An archive picture of a WFP food ship transporting relief supplies.

(Copyright: WFP/Jonathan Drake)

A new sea route to deliver WFP relief to people in Sri Lanka is helping efforts to reach hungry people displaced by the recent escalation of hostilities in the northern Vanni region.

COLOMBO – A sea route to deliver WFP relief food to thousands of people in Sri Lanka was opened recently, providing a major boost to efforts to reach hungry people displaced by the recent escalation of hostilities in the region. Read News Release

Some 40 metric tons of WFP food - enough to feed some 80,000 people for a day - was delivered by sea to the government-designated safe zone in the Vanni on February 26. Another ship is planned at the weekend. 

“Now the challenge is to sustain this activity and ship sufficient quantities of food to meet the needs of tens of thousands caught in the conflict,” said Adnan Khan, WFP Representative and Country Director in Sri Lanka, adding that WFP’s goal is to deliver up to 300 metric tons of food commodities per week by boat. 

As most displaced persons are now concentrated in a new safe zone along the eastern coastline of Mullaitivu district, the sea route is an important alternative route to reach those in need. 

Since the fighting intensified in January this year, about 36,000 displaced persons have fled to government-controlled areas and are being accommodated in transit centres/welfare villages in Vavuniya, Jaffna and Mannar.  

WFP is supporting the ‘communal cooking initiative’ in these centres by providing a food basket consisting of dry rations. So far, 145 metric tons of mixed food commodities have been provided to 11 transit camps/welfare villages and WFP has also pre-positioned food in Vavuniya to meet emergency needs.