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Sri Lanka runs out of fuel, uncertainty over availability of fresh supplies hits citizens

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Sri Lanka has no fuel left

Sri Lanka has run out of fuel. Worse, there is no indication when fuel supply will resume in the country. Apologising to citizens, Sri Lankan energy minister Kanchana Wijesekera said that oil containers have not reached the island nation due to “banking” reasons.

Wijesekera also said the government owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, which has already shut down its refinery due to shortage of crude oil, has not given any indication on availability of fresh oil supplies.

“Regret to inform that CPC has informed me that the suppliers that had confirmed Petrol, Diesel and CrudeOil Shipments to arrive earlier this week and next week has communicated the inability to fulfil the deliveries on time for banking and logistic reasons,” he tweeted.

Last week, Sri Lanka announced shutting down of public sector offices to save fuel. Students in both government and private schools in Colombo and its outskirts have been asked to move to online classes.

The bankrupt nation has now initiated talks with the International Monetary Fund for a rescue package. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also said that an interim budget will be presented soon.

“The interim budget will reduce unnecessary government spending, while controlling other costs. We will also focus on revitalizing many areas affected by the crisis. There is an urgent need to focus on many sectors such as export economy, tourism and construction,” he tweeted.

Sri Lanka, home to 22 million people, is also going without food and medicines.

The UN has warned that Sri Lanka could be staring at a full blown humanitarian crisis.

Help has poured in from India at this gravest hour.

However, few countries besides India have come forth to help Sri Lanka. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has promised to provide all necessary assistance to Sri Lanka.

A high level delegation led by Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra also visited Colombo last week and assured help. Kwatra was accompanied by Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs Ajay Seth and Chief Economic Advisor V. Anantha Nageswaran. The delegation held a meeting with Wickremesinghe.

“I had a productive discussion with Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra, Indian Secretary to the Department of Economic Affairs Ajay Seth and Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of India Dr. V. Anantha Nageswaran. I look forward to stronger bilateral ties with India,” Wickremesinghe tweeted.

Also read: IMF team lands in Colombo--Sri Lanka finally starts talks on a rescue package

India promises to stand by Sri Lanka at its gravest hour