94% of mined areas in north de-mined

Wednesday, 18 January 2012 00:32 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

At the end of 2011, out of the 2,061 sqkm land area contaminated with mines, booby traps and unexploded ordnances, 1,934 sqkm or 93% was cleared due to the effort taken by the Government with other partners.  

The remaining area to be cleared has been calculated as 126 sqkm and nearly 3,600 specially trained human resources personnel have been deployed under the National Mine Action Programme.  

The National Mine Action Centre established in the Ministry of Economic Development coordinates the activities pertaining to mine clearance and a total of 759,138 of all types of devices have been recovered so far.

In order to accelerate the mine clearance programme, Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa is continuously giving advice and some de-mining machines have been imported to support the programme. The Engineering Brigade of the Sri Lanka Army plays the lead role in mine clearance and six other international de-mining organisations and two national organisations are also involved in the activities.

Approximately 300,000 people have been internally displaced due to terrorist activities in 2009 and the great challenge faced by the Government in sending them back to their homes was the contamination of mines and unexploded ordnances in those areas.

In Sri Lanka there are 39 de-mining machines available. In accordance with international standards, one de-miner can clear only six to eight square meters per day and one machine can clear 3,500-5,000 square meters per days.

Clearing of remaining areas will take much more time comparatively as most of the remaining area is covered with shrubs and jungle.