The American people are providing $100,000 in immediate assistance to support response efforts to the MV X-Press Pearl ship fire. The MV X-Press Pearl has discharged plastic debris and chemical waste into the surrounding waters, endangering coastal resources and the livelihoods of nearby fishing communities.
The Singapore-registered cargo ship carrying chemicals caught fire off the coast of Sri Lanka – leaving in its wake an environmental disaster and subsequently impacting the livelihoods of several thousands of fishing communities on the west coast closer to the Capital.
While the government is seeking compensation and insurance money from the Singapore-based owners of the ship, the fishing communities impacted by the disaster doubts benifits for them from these expected funds.
The Centre for Environmental Justice has sued both the Sri Lankan government and the shipping company over the situation, but the group acknowledges that the best outcome might just be that of raising awareness.
The U.S assistance will deliver immediate support to families whose livelihoods were affected by this emergency and expand ongoing support for response coordination and management. The United States is providing this assistance through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s implementing partners.
“The United States is committed to helping mitigate environmental impacts from the MV X-Press Pearl fire.This immediate assistance will support livelihoods and enable fisherfolk and their families to cope with the developing situation” ,” said Chargé d’affaires Martin Kelly.
The United States and Sri Lanka have worked to develop local emergency response capabilities for many years, including training on maritime disaster response. USAID, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Department of Defense also provide funding that helps manage and mitigate flooding and landslides, and enables communities to prepare and better recover from disasters.