Crisis-hit Sri Lanka shuts schools, urges work from home to save fuel

By Uditha Jayasinghe

COLOMBO (Reuters) – Troops in Sri Lanka handed tokens on Monday to folks queueing for petrol amid a extreme gas scarcity within the nation battling its worst financial disaster in seven a long time, whereas faculties shut in Colombo and public staff have been requested to do business from home.

With its overseas trade reserves at a document low, the island of twenty-two million is struggling to pay for important imports of meals, medication and most critically, gas.

“I’ve been in line for 4 days, I have never slept or eaten correctly throughout this time,” mentioned autorickshaw driver W.D. Shelton, 67, a type of who acquired a token meant to carry his place within the queue for when gas turns into accessible.

“We will not earn, we will not feed our households,” added Shelton, who was twenty fourth in line at a gas station within the centre of Colombo, however set to remain there as he had no petrol for the journey to his dwelling simply 5 km (3 miles) away.

It was not instantly clear how far the federal government might stretch its gas reserves.

The stockpiles stand at about 9,000 tonnes of diesel and 6,000 tonnes of petrol, Energy and Power Minister Kanchana Wijesekera mentioned on Sunday, however no recent shipments are due.

The federal government has advised staff to do business from home till additional discover, whereas faculties have been shut for every week within the business capital of Colombo and surrounding areas.

Gasoline station queues have grown quickly since final week.

“It is a tragedy, we do not know the place this can finish,” Shelton mentioned.

Public transport, energy era and medical companies will get precedence in gas distribution, with some rationed to ports and airports.

A staff from the Worldwide Financial Fund is visiting Sri Lanka to carry talks on a $3-billion bailout bundle.

Though the Indian Ocean nation is hoping to succeed in a staff-level settlement earlier than the go to ends on Thursday, that’s unlikely to unlock any speedy funds.

(Reporting by Uditha Jayasinghe; Enhancing by Clarence Fernandez)

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