5000 families resettled after demining north and eastNovember 14, 2011, 9:32 pm
History has been created by a local organization by establishing the first ever South Asian humanitarian de-mining organization to clear the mine infested areas, which facilitated successful resettlement of over 5000 internally displaced families.
This programme was initiated by Milinda Moragoda Institute for Peoples’ Empowerment (MMIPE) in 2003, which saw removal of landmines from a vast area exceeding 25,000 acres, facilitating those areas to be resettled and brought under economic activity, a press release issued by the MMIPE said yesterday.
MMIPE’s humanitarian mine action programme commenced with technical support and training of local demining teams by two Indian organizations, Sarvatra Techincal Consultants and Horizen. Financial support for this humanitarian programme was provided by the Norwegian government.
At present MMIPE is carrying out de-mining activities in Muruthankulam and Cheddikulam in the Vavunia District and Pulmudai in the Trincomalee District. When completed these three tasks would enable release of additional 1000 acres for paddy cultivation.
The first stage of mine clearance under the programme enabled release of 25,000 acres of land in Kandasamy Nagar, Kuppiyagama, Chekkadipallavu A, Chekkadipallavu B, Ammivaithan, Ellamaruthankulam, Maruthankulam and Maruthodai, in the Vavuniya District; Poomaranthan and P/Pandivirchan in the Mannar District; Pullaiadicholai-Muttur, Poonagar, Ichchalampattu, Sankankuli, Maavillaru, Tennaimaramvadiya, Pulmudai in the Trincomalee District; Dematawewa, Diyaittawewa, Yan Oya, Thanthirimale, Kanugahawewa, Yakawewa and Kongollawa in the Anuradhapura District.
Since inception the two Indian mine clearing teams worked passionately to facilitate recommencement of livelihood and economic activity of internally displaced persons by removing thousands of anti-personnel landmines (APLs) and un-exploded devices (UXOs). With the training provided by the Indian teams during the first two years, using a manual rake system, MMIPE employed over 60 local personnel and established two teams representing all communities and religions.
Thus, they are probably the only de-mining organization in the region, employing multi ethnic, multi religious, and multi linguistic civic conscious de-miners with a gender balance. Being the first local (Sri Lankan) humanitarian demining organization, MMIPE had to overcome many obstacles working in the mine risk areas of the country without mine related injuries to de-miners barring just one.
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