Australia grants funds to Sri Lanka for mine-clearance operation

The Australian government has provided 1 million Australian dollars USD 720,000 to Sri Lanka to help it de-mine and remove all unexploded ordnances left behind from the 26-year civil war with the LTTE, according to an official statement on Wednesday.


PTI | Colombo | Updated: 01-12-2021 16:18 IST | Created: 01-12-2021 16:11 IST
Australia grants funds to Sri Lanka for mine-clearance operation
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI
  • Country:
  • Sri Lanka

The Australian government has provided 1 million Australian dollars (USD 720,000) to Sri Lanka to help it de-mine and remove all unexploded ordnances left behind from the 26-year civil war with the LTTE, according to an official statement on Wednesday. The funds will be transferred to the Mine Advisory Group (MAG), a non-governmental organisation that assists people affected by landmines, small arms and light weapons. "Australia has been a consistent supporter of mine clearance in Sri Lanka since the end of the 26-year conflict in 2009 and has spent more than 20 million Australian dollars on mine clearance so far,'' the government release read. In total, the new project aims to return ca. 220,000 m2 of land – equivalent to 15 cricket pitches – to local people for safe use and to help remove the threat of landmines. The project will support the Sri Lankan government's goal to become mine-free, in line with its obligations to the Ottawa Landmine Treaty. The MAG estimates more than 5,000 people living close to the minefields will benefit from this initiative. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had led an armed rebellion against the Sri Lankan government to set up a separate Tamil homeland in northern and eastern regions of the island. It was defeated by the Sri Lankan Army in May 2009. The separatist campaign rendered about 2,000 km2 of land contaminated by mines. The minefields currently cover about 13 km2 of land in Sri Lanka that could be used for housing, farming, schools among other development efforts.

The MAG has been operating in Sri Lanka since 1992 has cleared over 43 km2 of land and recovered over 92,000 landmines and unexploded items, the release said.

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