US-funded UNICEF mine risk education begins

Saturday, 22 December 2012 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

A United States Government grant of $ 500,000 will help 150,000 residents in the Northern and Eastern Provinces avoid landmines and explosive remnants of war.  

Beginning this week in Mullaitivu, resettling communities are participating in mine risk education activities funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of State Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement.  Implemented by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), the mine risk education falls under a program that supports safe resettlement and restores livelihoods.

“Mine risk education is a pre-requisite to ensure safety of the communities living in the former conflict zones. Our aim is to educate the people living in mine-infested areas as well as those traveling to them and thereby to reduce potential risks,” said USAID Sri Lanka’s Mission Director, James Bednar.

“As more families are resettled in conflict-affected areas, the exposure to mines and explosive remnants of war will increase” said UNICEF Representative, Reza Hossaini. “Sustained mine risk education is critical for the protection of families. This partnership with the US Government will enable the safety and well-being of communities.”

The initiative will disseminate data on casualties and suspected mined areas, prepare mine risk education materials, provide community and school-based mine risk education, and develop village mine action plans.