Sri Lanka will seek an International Monetary Fund bailout, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said, as it battles soaring inflation and unprecedented food and fuel shortages. A lack of foreign currency has left Sri Lanka unable to finance essential imports in what authorities say is the South Asian nation’s worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1948. He added that IMF help was needed to secure “a new method” to repay around $6.9 billion in external debt and sovereign bond repayments due this year. Long queues outside gas stations and rolling daily blackouts have become the norm, while skyrocketing prices have caused serious hardships among the island’s 22 million people.