Vegetable sellers in the Pettah market district - Colombo, Sri Lanka. © Mark Henley (Panos)
Sri Lanka is a middle-income country with approximately 1 million people (6%) of its population living in poverty.
The long-running civil conflict has been a major cause of poverty and inequality. Future progress on poverty reduction to address the inequalities in the population in Sri Lanka depends on achieving a lasting peace.
DFID, with other donor countries, are focusing efforts on strengthening incentives for peace and reconciliation.
Over the last five years, the UK has funded a total of £41.02 million of bilateral development assistance and conflict prevention projects in Sri Lanka.
DFID's bilateral aid programme was closed in 2007 following Sri Lanka’s graduation to middle-income status.
However, we recognise that there are many people in great need, especially those affected by the recent conflict.
Since September 2008, DFID has committed £12.5 million of humanitarian assistance to support ongoing efforts of the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other humanitarian agencies.
Read the latest update on DFID's response to the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka
The humanitarian effort
DFID is also supporting the humanitarian effort and providing support to address the challenges of inequality and post conflict reconstruction through the European Union, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
Following the tsunami on 26 December 2004, the UK Government committed £75 million for immediate relief and recovery in the affected area, including Sri Lanka.
At the end of March 2005, DFID announced a further £65 million for longer-term reconstruction and rehabilitation activities in the area. The UK response to the tsunami relief effort was channelled through United Nations agencies, the Red Cross movement, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) as well as direct inventions aimed at addressing urgent requirements.
The UK also supported the United Nations’ assessment, information dissemination and coordination role. UK aid contributed to projects to improve the health of the affected population, improve the provision of water and sanitation, trace missing persons, distribute food, provide shelter, fund mental health and psycho-social support and restore livelihoods.