(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The Government of Australia has decided to allocate a further AU$ 800,000 in foreign aid funds to expedite Sri Lankan government ‘s humanitarian demining efforts in the war-battered North with the aim of transforming Sri Lanka into a land mine free country by 2025.
The Government of Australia would provide AUD 800,000as grant aid to the non-governmental organization, Mines Advisory Group (MAG) to implement the mine clearing operations. Australia has supported demining in Sri Lanka since 2009.
Welcoming the commitment from the Government of Australia to support its efforts to rid Sri Lanka of the deadly legacy of landmines, MAG said the additional funding will help return a further 190,000m2 of contaminated land to communities for productive use supporting an estimated 8,000 people.
During a visit to see MAG’s work in Mannar district, Australian Deputy High Commissioner, Ms Victoria Coakley expressed her appreciation for the difficult work deminers are doing to ensure Sri Lanka becomes mine impact free.
“Australia has been a consistent supporter of mine clearance in Sri Lanka since the end of the 26-year conflict in 2009. Our commitment to demining has contributed to the safe resettlement of displaced people, their ability to earn a livelihood, and has supported development in areas of greatest need. I am pleased to be here today to announce a continuation of our support to Sri Lanka to become landmine free, to save lives and ensure a future for communities living in, or who wish to return to, these areas.”
Welcoming the new funding, MAG Country Director Ms Valentina Stivanello said: “MAG is honored to receive support from Australia, an esteemed donor for Humanitarian Mine Action projects both within Sri Lanka and around the world. In the last two years alone, the partnership between MAG Sri Lanka, DASH and Australia has enabled the removal and destruction of over 2,200 explosive items. It has helped many people to rebuild their lives and livelihoods in Mannar, Vavuniya and Kilinochchi districts through its clearance.
With the funding, MAG, in partnership with the local demining organization Delvon Assistance for Social Harmony (DASH), will be able to continue to support Sri Lanka’s efforts to achieve the goal of a Landmine Free 2025, MAG said.