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Sri Lanka's growing COVID-19 cases hit Batticaloa's fishing industry

Fishermen in Batticaloa (Anton Croos)

Fishing activities have been severely affected in Batticaloa, following several cases of COVID-19 positive individuals identified at a wholesale fish market in Peliyagoda, a suburban area of Colombo.

Around 25,000 families’ livelihoods depend on fishing in the district. Thousands of fishermen in areas including Batticaloa, Poonochchimunai, Kathankudi, Navaladi, have been affected.

Without being able to sell the little goods that they catch, the fishermen report that their livelihoods have been severely impacted and that they have been pushed into poverty.

Over 8,000 COVID-19 cases have been recorded in Sri Lanka with more than20 deaths in total. More than half of these cases were from two clusters; a garment export factory in Minuwangoda, Western Province, and a wholesale fish market in Peliyagoda.

Sri Lanka’s increasingly militarised response to growing COVID-19 cases has also caused concern among human rights activists. With curfews now in effect, fears are once more mounting over livelihoods across the Tamil North-East, with many having faced starvation earlier this year.

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