Billions spent on expressway projects as UN report on SL observes “worst drought” and “many houses limiting food intake”

Billions spent on expressway projects as UN report on SL observes “worst drought” and “many houses limiting food intake”

Written by Keshala Dias

26 Sep, 2017 | 8:55 pm

A report published by the United Nations says Sri Lanka has been experiencing a lack of rainfall which has developed into what is believed to be the worst drought in forty years.

Quoting statistics of the Disaster Management Centre, the United Nations, in its report says, as of the 19th of September, close to two million people were estimated to be affected by the drought across 17 districts.

The UN report says, in March 2017, one-quarter of households were seriously concerned about access to drinking water with levels of water available for general household use declining.

It adds, according to assessments in August by the World Food Programme and the Ministry of Disaster Management, 45% of communities have reported that their closest reservoirs are now empty, with overall water levels in reservoirs at 18% in the beginning of August compared to 47% this time, last year.

The report quotes the Department of Agriculture, as saying, due to the floods in May and ongoing drought impacting the primary and secondary harvests of 2017, the rice production for 2017 is expected to be the lowest paddy production in the last ten years.

It adds, as a result, over 300,000 households are estimated to be food-insecure, with many households limiting their food intake and in some cases eating just one meal a day.

The United Nations report says that the brief inter-monsoonal rains experienced in mid-September across various districts are unlikely to significantly alleviate the ongoing drought conditions which are predicted to continue in the coming weeks.

While many Sri Lankans suffer the unforgiving force of mother nature, is it necessary for the country to spend over Rs. 500 billion on expressway projects by obtaining commercial loans at high interest rates?

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