The Government of Japan has decided to provide a total sum of $ 611,710 (approx. Rs. 91 million) to Mines Advisory Group (MAG) for humanitarian demining in northern Sri Lanka.
It is expected that the ‘Project for mine clearance in support of livelihood development in Northern Province, Sri Lanka’ would contribute to the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka in making mine contaminated areas safe, enabling displaced people to return and to resume their livelihoods.
Japan has been a major donor, supporting mine clearance in Sri Lanka to accelerate the resettlement of Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) and to facilitate recommencement of agriculture and other livelihood activities of returnees. Since 2003, the Government of Japan has provided a sum of approximately US$ 30.1 million for demining activities in the North and the East under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP).
The Grant Contract was signed between Kenichi Suganuma, Ambassador of Japan and Rownan Fernandes, Technical Operations Manager of MAG, on 20 July at the Embassy of Japan in Colombo.
Commenting on the provision of this grant, Fernandes stated that MAG is honored to be accepting this grant from the Government of Japan, an esteemed donor for Humanitarian Mine Action projects both within Sri Lanka and around the world.
In the last three years alone, the partnership between MAG Sri Lanka and the Government of Japan has enabled the removal and destruction of over 10,000 landmines. The removal of these potentially lethal items have helped tens of thousands of people to resettle and rebuild their lives and livelihoods in Mannar District by providing safe land for agriculture, housing, schools and other community infrastructure.
Early this year MAG successfully completed a systematic survey, which commenced in 2015, in six mine contaminated districts in Northern and Eastern provinces. The support from the Government of Japan was inevitable to achieve this mile stone. While continuing the clearance operations in Mannar district, MAG is also looking forward to commence clearance activities in Mullaitivu District in partnership with the Government of Japan under this new project.
Funding from the people of Japan will not only continue to save lives but also build futures by supporting livelihood development among some of the most mine-affected and poorest communities in the country. With this continued Japanese support, MAG is looking forward to continuing clearance activities in support of the Government of Sri Lanka’s commitment to being mine impact free by 2020.