Sri Lanka’s doctors and nurses demand fuel and medicine

Sri Lanka nurses protest, screen grab from Reuters footage.

Sri Lanka’s medical staff is suffering from a shortage of fuel and medicine. Doctors and nurses say they are struggling to find enough fuel to get to work, even though they are designated, essential workers. On top of this, the island nation is suffering power cuts and shortages of food and medicines.

On Wednesday, over 100 medical staff from the national hospital of Colombo marched to the prime minister’s office. The protestors demanded a fresh supply of fuel and medicines. Public health inspectors and other health service workers went on strike on Wednesday and Thursday. A secretary of Sri Lanka’s All Island Nurses Union, H.M. Mediwatta, said…

“This is an impossible situation, the government has to give us a solution.”

Doctors and nurses aren’t the only workers outraged in Sri Lanka. A union of bankers, teachers, and self-employed workers marched to the president’s house. Riot police put up barricades to stop the march.

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The marches were held a day after Sri Lanka suspended the sale of petrol to the public on June 28. Only buses, trains, ambulances, and transport needed to deliver food will be permitted to refuel over the next 2 weeks.

Authorities revealed that only 9,000 tonnes of diesel and 6,000 tonnes of gasoline are available to support the nation’s critical services, and buying petrol and diesel for private cars is prohibited until July 10. Authorities have ordered 22 million people to work from home, and schools in urban areas have closed for the time being.

Sri Lanka plunged into chaos in April, after the country experienced a 13 hour power blackout, its longest blackout ever recorded. Since then, the country has been unable to pay for fuel, medicine, and other necessary items.

SOURCE: Reuters

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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