Cricket

Australian players back UN appeal for crisis-stricken Sri Lanka

#Australian #players #appeal #crisisstricken #Sri #Lanka

The visiting Australia cricket team on Thursday supported a United Nations appeal to buy much-needed food and life-saving medicines for Sri Lanka, which is currently mired in a deepening economic crisis.

The South Asian island nation is suffering from shortages of food, fuel, medicines and other essentials, a crisis sparked by dwindling foreign exchange reserves and government mismanagement that is plaguing its residents.

The Australian cricket team is currently in Sri Lanka for a tournament that includes all three formats of the game.

In a video released by Australia’s High Commission in Colombo on Thursday, cricketers Mitchell Starc and Steve Smith said they were encouraging friends “to help in any way we can” in the UN’s appeal for 47 emergency aid funds, 2 million dollars.

“The UN has launched a lightning call in Sri Lanka to support poor communities affected by the crisis,” Starc said.

“We are proud that Australia is doing its part,” added Smith. “Together we can help Sri Lanka get through this crisis for six.”

Australia have already won their opening two T20 games to secure the three-game T20 series played at the start of five ODIs and two Tests.

The tournament is being held despite severe fuel shortages and power outages across the country and daily protests demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over mismanagement of the economy.

Both the Sri Lankan authorities and supporters had asked the Australians to continue the cricket series as it is expected to bring much-needed foreign currency to the island.

So far, 1.7 million people in the country of 22 million people are in need of “lifesaving assistance,” according to the UN, while more than three-quarters of the population have reduced their food intake due to severe food shortages across the country.

“Sri Lanka’s once strong health system is now under threat, livelihoods are suffering and the most vulnerable are hit hardest,” the agency said in a statement.

“Now is the time for the international community to show solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka.”

Sri Lanka defaulted on its $51 billion foreign debt in April and is in talks with the International Monetary Fund for a bailout.

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#Australian #players #appeal #crisisstricken #Sri #Lanka

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