WFP seeks more money to feed Sri Lanka’s displaced

Sri Dharanee Performance Arts Theatre

May 8, 2008 (AFP) – A United Nations agency Thursday appealed for 36 million dollars to feed thousands of Sri Lankans displaced by fighting between troops and rebels amidst galloping global commodity prices.

The World Food Programme (WFP) now feeds more than a million Sri Lankans, of whom 400,000 have been internally displaced.

“The World Food Programme has appealed for urgent funds to sustain its operations in Sri Lanka in the wake of the rapid surge in commodity prices,” WFP country director Mohamed Saleheen said.

Prices of staple food such as rice and pulses have doubled over the year in Sri Lanka, reducing the volume of the commodities WFP can procure within its allocated budget by almost 50 percent, the agency said in a statement.

“Food shortages and price rises will mean cutting back on food assistance. To date, the operation has suffered from the rising food prices,” Saleheen said. He added that the 36 million dollars was needed to feed people until the end of the year.

Sri Lankans have been fleeing towns and villages in ever larger numbers since December 2005 as fighting has escalated between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and security forces.

Tens of thousands hav