Sri Lanka clears over 90-pct of mined area

Sri Dharanee Performance Arts Theatre

May 25, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has cleared over 90 percent of the area where land mines believed to have been laid during a 30-year civil war which ended in 2009, the island’s finance ministry said. The finance ministry additional human and financial resources are needed to make Sri Lanka mine free by 2020.

Along with Sri Lanka’s military eight other local and foreign organizations are removing mines. Foreign partners include Japan, US, Australia, EU, Canada and Switzerland.

Minefields have blocked access to fertile land, restricted freedom of movement, agriculture and commercial activity in the north and east and prolonged the resettlement of displaced people.

Sri Lanka is under pressure to resettle displaced civilians and restore livelihoods in the north and east.

Out of 295,136 refugees displaced by the conflict only 6022 remains to be resettled by end April 2012, the finance ministry said.

From 2009 to 2011 a total of 1577 square kilometers or 92 percent of the danger area in the north and east of the country has been cleared and only 124 square kilometers remains, the finance ministry said in its annual report.

Sri Lanka is a 65,000 square kilometer island.