Fri, 22 Sep 2023

Colombo [Sri Lanka], August 19 (ANI): Australia will provide an additional USD 25 million in Official Development assistance to help Sri Lanka meet urgent food and healthcare needs, an official statement from the Australian Foreign Ministry said.

The announcement was made in a joint press statement issued by Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Pat Conroy and Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong.

"Australia will provide an additional USD 25 million to help Sri Lanka meet urgent food and healthcare needs, as it confronts its worst economic crisis in 70 years. During this challenging period, Australia stands with the people of Sri Lanka, especially those experiencing severe hardship. This additional support brings Australia's Official Development Assistance response to USD 75 million," the Australian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The Australian Foreign Ministry said that its continued assistance to Sri Lanka supports the mutual interest in a secure and resilient Indian Ocean and reinforces the 75-year-strong relationship built on cooperation and community connection.

"The extra humanitarian assistance is in addition to the USD 23 million in ongoing development assistance to Sri Lanka in 2022-23," the statement added.

Earlier, in June, Australia announced to provide USD 50 million to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka currently faces its worst economic crisis in seventy years, leading to shortages of food, medicine and fuel. The island nation's worst economic crisis in seven decades led to a shortage of foreign exchange that stalled imports of essential items such as fuel and medicine and fertiliser.

"We will contribute an immediate USD 22 million to the World Food Programme for emergency food assistance to help three million people in Sri Lanka meet their daily nutritional needs. Australia will also provide USD 23 million in development assistance to Sri Lanka in 2022-23," the ministry said in a statement earlier.

The Australian foreign ministry said it has a close and long-standing relationship with Sri Lanka. "Not only do we want to help the people of Sri Lanka in its time of need, there are also deeper consequences for the region if this crisis continues," the statement said.

This will support health services, and economic recovery, with a strong emphasis on protecting those at risk, especially women and girls.

This assistance was announced after the Australian Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil visit to Sri Lanka in June this year.

The visit coincided with the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. (ANI)

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