The Sri Lankan civil war left the country’s northern and eastern districts littered with landmines and other explosive weapons.
Photo: Sean Sutton/MAG
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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.
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
MAG's integrated approach to landmine and UXO removal involves non-technical survey, and mechanical and manual clearance methods.
MAG's work in Sri Lanka is supported by:
• Humanitarian Demining Research & Development Program
• Japanese Government
Page updated: 7 July 2015