Brief description of the country programme
Due to a vigorous government campaign and with international assistance to return IDPs as quickly as possible, the camps that were housing as many as 300,000 IDP are now closing down. However, many of the returnees are still unable to return to their homes due to the threat of mine and UXO contamination. Instead, many are now hosted by family or in social institutions in their home area.
Danish Demining Group established a mine clearance program in Sri Lanka in January 2003 and has now cleared more than 9.73 million mof land for resettlement and surveyed more than 2,147 km. In the course of our work 73,400 mines and UXO have been removed.
Initially the programme focused on supporting the 2002 cease fire and peace process by clearing land for resettlement and development in the eastern region. With renewed conflict in July 2006, DDG entered into an emergency clearance phase in support of the IDPs created by the fighting. This clearance focused on clearing contaminated villages which was hindering the return of the civil population. By 2006, DDG had supported the return of more than 2,500 families in the area.
Following the end of the conflict in May 2009, in accordance with government priorities, mine clearance was given high priority status in order to ensure a safe return of the hundreds of thousands of IDPs housed in camps in Vavuniya, Mannar and Jaffna. DDG, along with other mine action agencies responded by almost doubling our clearance capacity, to a total of 650 employees, whilst relocating operations to the areas formerly held by LTTE. This sudden increase was due to the generous support of donors including: DANIDA, Swedish Development Aid (SIDA), US Department of State, The Japanese Embassy and Swedish Postcode Lottery.