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Demining Sri Lanka’s war zone 95 percent complete, government says

Sri Lankan authorities announced Saturday that only 96 square kilometers of the land remain to be demined in the war-battered Northern Province.According to the National Mine Action Center established in the Ministry of Economic Development, the remaining confirmed hazard area as at end of March 2013 is only 96 square kilometers, which amounts to only 5 percent of the land.Sri Lanka’s national demining program operates under the leadership of the National Steering Committee on Mine Action (NSCMA), chaired by the Ministry of Economic Development.The country’s north and the east were heavily mined by the Tamil Tiger terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) prior to their defeat in May 2009.The government has planned to complete the demining the area and resettle all the IDPs in their own places before holding the elections for the Northern Province.”Within three year period, the Government was able to resettle all the internally displaced persons around 300,000 in numbers due to the conflict followed by massive pace of de-mining,” the government said.Sri Lanka Government plans to conduct the Provincial Council elections in the Northern Province before September this year.The Ministry says the cleared area is over 95 percent and most of the remaining areas are covered with shrubs and jungle.The Mine Action programme is still continued by the government with the support of UNDP, UNICEF, Donor Community, Sri Lankan Army, National and International de-mining organizations too.The Economic Development Ministry said that since most of the area has been demined now several demining agencies have already moved out after completing their tasks while the remaining organizations are still continuing.The government expects all the remaining demining organizations to leave as well once the demining is completed. If the area to be cleared is declining, funding for the de-mining is also comparatively getting reduced, the Ministry explained.

Author: TELO Admin