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Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka flag

The Sri Lankan civil war left the country’s northern and eastern districts littered with landmines and other explosive weapons.

Children in Mannar District, Sri Lanka

From July to December 2014 alone, MAG helped 20,890 people in Sri Lanka.

Photo: Sean Sutton/MAG

The problems

By the time Sri Lanka’s longstanding conflict between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam finally ended in 2009, around 300,000 people had been displaced from their homes by the fighting.

The conflict left the country’s northern and eastern districts contaminated by landmines, unexploded ordnance (UXO) and improvised explosive devices, hindering resettlement plans and preventing returning communities from rebuilding their lives and re-establishing their livelihoods.

Contaminated land continues to restrict access to paddy fields, water sources and access routes, and poses safety concerns for development agencies implementing rehabilitation projects.

How MAG is helping in Sri Lanka

MAG is helping Sri Lanka's Government move swiftly towards its goal of becoming a landmine-free nation. From January to May 2015 alone, our teams removed and destroyed 2,914 landmines in Sri Lanka.

MAG is currently the only non-governmental organisation working in Mannar District, which accounts for 20 per cent of the country’s total remaining landmine contamination.

Considered Sri Lanka’s ‘Rice Bowl’ due to its agricultural potency, Mannar suffered greatly during the war, when many kilometres of defensive mine rows were laid. Their lasting legacy has rendered fertile land unusable and dangerous for the communities that are re-establishing their lives in the district.

But success is achievable. One of the worst hit areas during the civil war, Puthukudiyiruppu (or 'PTK'), was littered with explosive weapons, filled with abandoned military camps and nuisance minefields. In four years, MAG’s clearance has transformed the town, making land safe for the population to resettle and recover their lives and livelihoods. 

Before, we did not attempt to come here because we were told that our land was contaminated with landmines... Read more

How MAG works in Sri Lanka

MAG's integrated approach to landmine and UXO removal involves non-technical survey, and mechanical and manual clearance methods.

Our partners in Sri Lanka

MAG's work in Sri Lanka is supported by:

• Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, Canada

• Humanitarian Demining Research & Development Program

• Japanese Government


US State Department's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement

Other countries MAG works in


Angola • Chad • Democratic Republic of Congo • Libya • Mali • Sahel & West Africa • Somalia • South Sudan


Cambodia • Laos • Myanmar • Vietnam

Central America


Middle East

Iraq • Lebanon

Page updated: 7 July 2015

Our impact in Sri Lanka, January-May 2015

Landmines removed & destroyed: 2,914

Unexploded ordnance (UXO) items removed & destroyed: 167

MAG in Sri Lanka

• Programme began: 2002

• Our main activities:
Landmine & unexploded ordnance removal
Explosive ordnance disposal

• Our work supports:
Development of infrastructure
National survey
Resettlement of internally displaced people
Sector research and development

About Sri Lanka

• Population: 20.33 million

• Life expectancy: 75 years

• Gross National Income per capita: US$2,920

• People with access to safe drinking water: 91%

• People below the poverty line: approx. 9%

Figures: CIA, UNDP, UN Water, World Bank

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