MAG Sri Lanka Programme Update Nov 2008

Report
from Mines Advisory Group
Published on 20 Nov 2008
SUMMARY

Reporting Period: 1st - 31st October 2008

Activities & Outputs Summary:

- Search and clearance of a total of 42,852m2 of land through a combination of manual and mechanical techniques

- Removal of 10 antipersonnel mines and 3 items of Unexploded ordnance

- Continued current tasks consisting of 7 hazardous areas / sectors

- Reached 1,600 individuals with safety briefings and other community liaison services

Impact Summary:

Clearance of land and the issue of a land release / low risk certificate is the first criterion to meet within UNHCR's resettlement programme; without mine clearance, resettlement cannot be undertaken. Mine action is the precursor to the humanitarian activities of other organisations, allowing agencies to return to areas in the knowledge that they are cleared of explosive threat or such threats are clearly marked. In October MAG continued clearance of a task to allow for the resettlement and support of communities in their return to Veppavaduwan in Batticaloa district.

ACTIVITIES

All humanitarian mine action activities are undertaken from MAG's operational base in Batticaloa; MAG is currently undertaking resources planning to respond to emerging need in other areas of the country.

Funding Update

On Thursday 13th November MAG was honoured to sign a contract with His Excellency Kiyoshi Araki of the Embassy of Japan confirming further funding to support the mechanical clearance capacity for 2009. This is the fifth year of support received from the people of Japan.

Manual Clearance

Entirely funded by the United States, Department of State Political Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, MAG's manual teams completed clearance of 4,778m2 through manual means. The work focussed on the high risk areas of the current task, resulting in 10 Jonny 99 anti-personnel mines being removed, as well as 2 items of unexploded ordnance, including a Bangalore torpedo explosive clearance device.

Mechanical Clearance

Supported by the Government of Japan, MAG's mechanical capacity worked in partnership, in an integrated fashion, with the manual clearance teams undertaking ground preparation and verification of the low risk areas.

During October the teams completed 38,074m2 despite heavy rain and mechanical factors impacting upon the operational plan.

Community Liaison

Community Liaison teams, funded by MAG America and Unicorn Grocery, undertook post clearance impact assessment and provide safety briefings within communities in Erravur Pattu and Manmunai.

Signs, such as that to the right, have been erected along principal transportation routes in order to identify the hazards and specific hazardous areas.

Conventional Weapons Management and Disposal / Small Arms and Light Weapons

Recognising that conflict recovery includes a wide range of activities, MAG is exploring how to support the Government of Sri Lanka in management and destruction of Small Arms and Light Weapons: watch this space for more details on how this is progressing or contact MAG for further information.

MAG would like to express its gratitude and sincere thanks to the following donors currently contributing to the Sri Lanka programme:

- Actiefonds Mijnen Ruimen

- BDO

- Good Gifts

- Japanese Government

- Kirby Laing Foundation

- Lloyds Trust

- MAG America

- Unicorn Grocery

- United States Department of State, Political Military Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement

For more information on this or any of MAG's programmes across the world please visit www.maginternational.org,

or contact:
Matt Thomas (Regional Desk Officer) e-mail: Matt.Thomas@maginternational.org
MAG, 47 Newton Street, Manchester, M1 1FT, UK Tel: +44 161 236 4311 Fax: +44 161 236 6244