Sri Lanka declares week-long holiday for schools amid fuel crisis

Sri Lanka declares week-long holiday for schools amid fuel crisis

With no fuel for transportation, Sri Lanka declared a week-long school holiday beginning Monday.

From July 4 to 8, all government and government-approved private schools will be closed, according to the Education Ministry.

The decision to close schools was made following a discussion among Ministry officials, Provincial Education Secretaries, and other officials, and after taking into account the low attendance of school principals, teachers, and students over the last two weeks, which was primarily due to a lack of transportation due to a lack of fuel for both public transportation and personal vehicles.

On last Monday (June 27), the government-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) stopped issuing fuel to any vehicle other than those involved in essential services such as health, public transportation, law and order, food distribution, and so on, sending people who had been queued for days and weeks home.

People were asked to work from home, urban schools were closed, and others were asked to teach online. All private vehicles were forced to rely on Indian Oil Company-run fuel stations across the country, which provided limited fuel to various vehicles.

With the ongoing fuel crisis, the Indian Ocean island nation has come to a halt, with only a few vehicles on the roads and many people opting to ride bicycles.

Sri Lanka had relied primarily on a line of credit issued by India under its $3.5 billion financial assistance beginning in January of this year, and the supply ended with the final shipment of 40,000 metric tonnes of diesel on June 16.

As Sri Lanka faced its worst-ever economic crisis, the UN World Food Programme declared food inflation in Colombo at a record high of 57.4 percent in May, with approximately five million people, or 22 percent of the population, food insecure and in need of assistance.

By Brendan Taylor

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