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A severe shortage of foreign currency to pay for imports is to blame for the reason why Sri Lanka is currently experiencing power cuts of 10 hours at a time.

The country, with its 22 million inhabitants, is currently experiencing its worst economic crisis since it gained independence in 1948.

On Tuesday, Janaka Ratnayake, chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka, told reporters that it was “a sad day” as the previous power cuts of seven hours imposed at the beginning of the month, were increased.

News24 reports that refiners advised citizens not to queue at fuel stations as diesel runs out, and state-run hospitals don’t have enough life-saving medicines as the nation’s foreign-currency shortage spirals into a worsening humanitarian crisis.

Sri Lanka gets most of its electricity production from coal and oil imports, but both are currently in short supply since the country doesn’t have enough foreign exchange to pay for supplies.

Earlier reports suggested that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declined loans from the International Monetary Fund, but has since accepted them. He is also reported to be in talks with China, India and Bangladesh for bilateral aid.

Across the country, people and businesses are taking huge knocks as they struggle to keep daily activities and trading going without power. This has led to huge needs for essential goods and price increases across the board.

France24 reports that many hospitals have stopped routine surgeries, and supermarkets have been forced to ration staple foods, including rice, sugar and milk powder.

Image credit: The Indian Express

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