The government has told officials to work from home until younger
Sri Lankan soldiers on Monday handed out vouchers to people queuing for petrol amid a severe fuel shortage in the country, which is experiencing its worst economic crisis in seven decades, as schools closed in Colombo and civil servants were called from home.
According to Reuters, with its foreign exchange reserves at an all-time low, the island of 22 million is struggling to pay for basic imports of food, medicine and, most importantly, fuel.
"I've been in the queue for four days, I did not sleep or eat properly during this period," said driver WD Shelton, 67, one of those who received a voucher intended to hold his place in the queue for whenever available. fuel oil.
"We can't make a living, we can't feed our families," added Shelton, who was 24th at a gas station in downtown Colombo but was destined to stay because he had no gas for the trip. at his home, just 5 km away.
The country's fuel reserves amount to about 9.000 tonnes of diesel and 6.000 tonnes of petrol, Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said on Sunday, but no new shipments are expected.
The government has told officials to work from home until further notice, while schools have been closed for a week in the commercial capital of Colombo and surrounding areas.
Queues at service stations have risen sharply since last week.
Public transport, electricity generation and medical services will have priority in fuel distribution.
A team from the International Monetary Fund is visiting Sri Lanka to discuss a $ 3 billion rescue package.
Although the Indian Ocean nation hopes to reach an agreement at ministerial level before the visit ends on Thursday, it is unlikely to unlock funds immediately.