Sri Lanka today donated 10,000 mertic tons of rice to the World Food Programme which will be sent to Ethiopia, where tens of thousands of refugees have fled, after devastating drought contributed to famine in Somalia last year.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa made a symbolic hand over of the rice to WFP's Acting Country Director Ms. Azeb Asrat at Temple Trees this morning.
This is the first ever donation from the Government of Sri Lanka to WFP's food operations abroad and the first shipment of 500 mertic tons is scheduled to leave Colombo port in the next few days.
Speaking to a group of students who were present at Temple Trees during the handing over, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said it is a cherished value of Sri Lankans to help those who are in need and Sri Lanka is donating this consignment to benefit of people in Africa affected by a natural disaster.
Ms. Azeb Asrat while thanking President Rajapaksa for this goodwill gesture said this donation will help provide critical food and nutritional assistance to hungry people, in particular Somali families.
Acting Minister of External Affairs D. E. W. Gunasekara, Minister of Co-operatives and Internal Trade Johnston Fernando, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Karunaratne Amunugama and representatives of the WFP were also present at the occasion.