MAG was delighted to welcome members of the England cricket team to a landmine clearance site in Sri Lanka on 19 November 2018. 

Following their test match win in Kandy, cricketers Joe Root (Captain), Jonny Bairstow, Keaton Jennings and Olly Stone visited an area where MAG is helping a community by clearing landmines close to the rural village of Periyamadu, in the north-west of the country.

“It’s been brilliant to come here and see the great work MAG is doing,” Joe Root said. “With the mines being so divisive in terms of separating communities and doing so much damage, and seeing all that being turned around here, it has been really impressive.”

The players were briefed on landmine contamination in Sri Lanka, before being shown the different types of mines MAG discovers and watching a deminer demonstrate how these deadly items are found and safely destroyed. The cricketers then put on body armour and walked through a recently cleared part of a minefield closely supervised by experienced MAG staff.

“It puts things massively in perspective, making you realise the real danger some people are in when they go to work in the morning,” Joe Root added. “We’re very fortunate not to be in that position.”

The total size of minefields surrounding the small rural village Periyamadu is over 1.2 million m2 – that’s 59 times the size of Lords Cricket Ground.

The three-decade civil war which ended in 2009 resulted in large areas of both the northern and eastern provinces being widely contaminated with landmines and unexploded bombs.

MAG has been working in Sri Lanka since 2002 locating and removing landmines and other unexploded bombs. Since the end of the conflict in 2009, MAG has released over 35 million square metres of land, cleared over 42,000 mines and 14,800 other unexploded bombs in Sri Lanka.

“By visiting a minefield today the players are highlighting how this urgent issue impacts communities in Sri Lanka and around the world,” said MAG’s Chief Executive Jane Cocking. “MAG’s goal is to support Sri Lanka to become landmine free by 2020, enabling communities to rebuild their lives and livelihoods, free from fear.”

Find out more about our work in Sri Lanka here.

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“It puts things massively in perspective, making you realise the real danger some people are in when they go to work in the morning,” Joe Root said after walking through MAG’s landmine clearance site.

“With the mines being so divisive in terms of separating communities and doing so much damage, and seeing all that being turned around, it has been really impressive.”

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