Crisis-hit Sri Lanka is seeking help from the United Nations to build a stockpile of essential foods, the prime minister’s office said Friday, after authorities warned of looming starvation.

Acute shortages of food, fuel and other essential goods, along with record inflation and rolling blackouts, have inflicted widespread misery in the island nation’s unprecedented economic crisis.

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Scarce supplies of petrol, diesel and fertiliser have made it difficult for Sri Lankan farmers to grow crops, while the agricultural sector is still reeling from a disastrous organic policy that kneecapped yields last year.

In a statement, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s office said that the UN Food and Agriculture Organization is now planning a “food crisis response plan” to shore up reserves and will also offer more funds for urban agriculture.

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Parliamentary speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana warned in April that Sri Lanka was facing “very acute food shortages and starvation”.

Around half of Sri Lanka’s rice production was lost last year, and the latest cultivation season which started last month has been disrupted because of fertiliser shortages.

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Sri Lanka’s painful economic crunch was sparked by a shortage of foreign currency, leaving traders unable to pay for critical imports, including fertiliser.