Mind the Mines

A Legacy of War

The 26-year Sri Lankan civil war ended in 2009 after bitter fighting and many suicide attacks.

During the conflict both sides laid thousands of landmines mostly in the north and east of the country, the area which the Tamils hoped to convert into a seperate state.

Landmine

Landmine

Many of the mines were laid in the area of the Jaffna Peninsula for defensive positions and to restrict enemy troop movements, including around Elephant Pass where water encroaches the A9 road on both sides.

In 2009, there were an estimated 280,000 internally displaced persons trying to return to their land, many of whom were prevented from doing so because of the presence of landmines.

In many cases the mines are very poorly mapped or were laid down in a haphazard fashion making removal difficult.

HALO Trust

The HALO trust is a non-governmental organization conducting the clearence of war-related debris around the world though their focus is land mine removal.

They are much needed in Sri Lanka as there have been at least 1,200 injuries and 117 deaths from landmines.

IMG_0273

The Trust reports that they have over 1,000 staff in the field in Sri Lanka using a variety of techniques, including flailing machines.

Some of the war damage has been purposely left in place as a reminder of the devastation and toll on the country.

Downed Water Tank- Kilinochchl

Downed Water Tank- Kilinochchl

The far north continues to suffer economic stagnation because of the damage done during the war and the slow recovery from it.

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