Sri Lanka, the broken pearl of the Indian Ocean


They have been waiting in the moist monsoon heat for more than two days. The line, which stretches for several kilometers like a tentacle to the gas station of Thummulla Junction, in the heart of Colombo, the capital, advances at a snail’s pace. Cars, trucks, motorcycles… In front of all the petrol pumps in Sri Lanka, it is now the same scene. Each type of vehicle has its line. We are approaching that of the tuk-tuks, these motorized tricycles, ubiquitous and essential, which are used for everything: taxis, but also school bus service, delivery vehicle or even ambulance on occasion. A compact and vehement crowd of drivers instantly forms around us. The looks are serious, the anger, on edge. “Another two days of lost work… And when we reach the goal, sometimes there is no more fuel. It’s hellish! I haven’t been able to pay my rent for three months. », gets carried away Ansar, 43, in his tuk-tuk customized in the colors of Juventus of Turin and Buddha. The owner, who comes to see him every two days, threatens to kick him out, along with his wife and their three children. “But what can we do? I ask him to wait… I have no choice. We can no longer feed our families. » When the shortages started, everyone thought it would be a matter of days. It was six months ago.

Udawa, a tuk-tuk driver, must present his QR code to receive his fuel quota.  (Ishara Kodikara/AFP for “the Obs”.)
Udawa, a tuk-tuk driver, must present his QR code to receive his fuel quota. (Ishara Kodikara

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