Batticaloa declared mine-free, but 26 mn square meters still to be cleared in 9 districts

The Batticaloa District has been declared mine free but the government still needs to clear more than 26 million square meters in nine other districts. The official certificate of clearance confirming that the district has been rid of mines was handed over to the Batticaloa District Secretary P.S.M. Charles this week by the Country Director of the Mine Advisory Group Alistair Moir and Brigadier Amith Seneviratne, Commanding Officer of the 233 Brigade, Batticaloa.

An area of six square kilometers have been cleared and 68,350 devices removed from the district. The mines were cleared from Kiran, Vakarai, Vellavali, Kathankudy, Valachchenai and Pattipallai.

However 26.3 million square metres in the northern, north central and eastern provinces are yet to be cleared, with the largest area to be cleared in the Kilinochchi district, where 11.7 million square meters needs to be cleared. A national Mine Action Programme initiated with the assistance of the UNDP, UNICEF, INGOs, NGOs and several other donor countries is currently underway.

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