Sri Lanka (MNN) — Sri Lanka is about to default on its debt, credit agencies have said. It’s the worst economic crisis in living memory for the island nation.
People have no fuel for vehicles or homes. Food prices rose by 30 percent in March. Power outages last for several hours.
Greg Yoder with Christian World Outreach says, “Some of my understanding of what’s going on is they’re restricting imports, which again just drives prices up. And it doesn’t necessarily affect those who have what they need, but it does affect those that don’t have it. That’s where we can be involved.”
Many Sri Lankans see a new government as the only way out of the situation. Protests have raged in the capital Colombo for several days. Some have staged a sit-in. A large tent encampment has been growing as people set up food stalls, medical centers, and phone charging stations.
They say they will only leave after the resignation of the sitting President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa. For years, he has jailed dissenters, installed his family in the government, and expanded his powers. Now, under immense pressure, he has offered negotiations to the protestors.
Yoder says out in the villages, CWO doesn’t see rioting, but they see the same desperation. “We are working in a village out more in the north. And it’s just helping widows and elderly that are poor, and don’t necessarily have a family to assist them or help them.”
They also help tutor kids in school, Yoder says. “Just so they can improve their education and pass their exams. This January we started a feeding program. We want to help them with some nourishment as well, so they can learn better.”
Pray many Sri Lankans would experience the love of Jesus. And pray that God will lead CWO to the people that they can help. Yoder says, “The need for what we’re doing is even greater at this point. So just pray that we’ll have the resources to help.”
The header photo shows protests on April 13 in front of the Presidential Secretariat. (Photo courtesy of AntanO, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)