2018 To Walk the Earth in Safety: Sri Lanka

Report
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs

FUNDING FY15 FY16 FY17 FY95–17 TOTAL
DOS NADR - CWD 4,250 2,500 5,000 47,841
DOS Other 0 0 0 122
CDC 0 0 0 175
DoD 507 601 697 3,929
USAID 0 0 0 7,900
COUNTRY TOTAL 4,757 3,101 5,697 59,967

Dollars in thousands

SRI LANKA

Landmines and UXO still contaminate Sri Lanka following almost three decades of armed conflict between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which sought a separate homeland in the north and east. After the war ended in 2009, demining activities immediately commenced in the north. However, contamination remains a critical impediment to the resettlement of displaced families and other development initiatives. This is particularly true as the government seeks to return land previously held in high security zones, the borders of which were heavily mined. The widespread presence of mines and UXO present an ongoing threat to the safety of returnees to such areas. According to the National Mine Action Center, approximately 27 square kilometers (247 acres) of confirmed hazardous area remain.

Date: 2018 Description: A HALO deminer at a clearance site in Sri Lanka funded by PM/WRA conducts a full excavation of a landmine. © Photo courtesy of HALO

From 1995 to 2017, the United States invested more than $59.9 million in CWD funding for mine clearance, survey, risk education, and capacity building.

In 2017, the Department of State supported the following implementing partners:

  • HALO continued to support the government of Sri Lanka’s efforts to return displaced families to their homes in the Northern Province by conducting survey, clearance, and risk education.
  • MAG continued to clear mines and other explosive hazards, restoring access to land for resettlement and livelihood development in northern and eastern Sri Lanka.
  • Delvon Assistance for Social Harmony continued to remove mines and UXO in support of resettlement of displaced families in northern Sri Lanka, developing national capacity as Sri Lanka’s first demining NGO.
  • MLI finalized a program to train, equip, and deploy mine detection dogs with the Sri Lankan Army’s humanitarian demining units.
  • SOS provided mine risk education to impacted communities through its soccer-based programs.

With funding from the Department of Defense,

  • HD R&D continued to support existing technology, including evaluations of the Rex light weight armored excavator; the Improved Backhoe system and rake attachments; the Light Soil Sifter; and HSTAMIDS. The equipment provided area preparation, area reduction, and mine-clearance capabilities to clear villages and agricultural land. HD R&D technologies have been used in the clearance of 16,500 mines and UXO from 781,000 square meters (193 acres) to date.
  • USINDOPACOM continued to support underwater humanitarian demining with EOD Mobile Unit Five, the Sri Lankan Navy Special Boat Squadron and Naval Dive Unit to develop a bilateral partnership that builds capacity for the remediation of ERW and removal of underwater explosive hazards. USINDOPACOM/USARPAC also conducted Phase I EOD/Blast Trauma/Vet/GIS and Phase I EOD/Blast Trauma/Vet/GIS train-the-trainer programs.