The World Bank has agreed to provide Sri Lanka with $600 million in financial aid to help cover the cost of essential imports as the country's economic crisis deepened, the Sri Lankan President's Media Division said Tuesday.
Italy also stated Monday that it would make an "in-kind emergency contribution" of LKR125 million ($366,055) to Sri Lanka to assist with the procurement of medications and medical equipment.
According to the Italian Embassy in Colombo, the contribution will be channeled through the Italian Bilateral Emergency Fund at the World Health Organization and will allow payment to suppliers abroad directly.
"In the past, Italy has always been ready to support Sri Lanka whenever the country was in need, including in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami," it said, adding that Italy has also supported initiatives for Sri Lanka's agriculture sector.
It also approved the issuance of five-year residence visas to foreigners, including their spouses, who invest a minimum of $75,000 in Sri Lanka's condominium properties.
Thousands of Sri Lankans have taken to the streets in protest against the government's mishandling of the country's worst economic crisis in decades, while local doctors have reported a catastrophic scarcity of essential medicines in government hospitals.
On April 4, Human Rights Watch urged the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to ensure that its financial program with Sri Lanka protects “the human rights of low-income people and addresses corruption and entrenched obstacles to the rule of law.”
Sarah Saadoun, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, said the protests send “a clear message” about people’s economic situation in Sri Lanka.