Sri Lanka

MAG Sri Lanka Programme Update Oct 2008

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SUMMARY

Reporting Period: 01 January 2008 - 30 September 2008

2008 Activities & Outputs Summary:

- Search and clearance of a total of 2,239,300 m2 of land through a combination of manual and mechanical techniques.

- Removal of 10 antipersonnel mines and 22 items of Unexploded ordnance (UXO), the mines were destroyed by burning and the UXO handed over to the Sri Lankan Army for destruction. The destruction was witnessed by MAG staff.

-Completed 2 tasks consisting of four hazardous areas /sectors

- Undertaken survey of 46 Dangerous Areas.

- Reached 31,000 individuals with safety briefings and other community liaison activities. Impact Summary: During 2008 MAG has completed two tasks, and started a third, in areas of resettlement and return in Batticaloa district. This has facilitated the safe return of families to the areas from which they were displaced as well as cleared key cultural and community sites, such as temples and places of worship, schools and land for grazing and agriculture. The completion of these tasks is tangible progress within the eastern districts towards the Government of Sri Lanka's goal of an impact free country, whilst also facilitating the resettlement of communities and the ongoing humanitarian activities of other NGOs and humanitarian agencies. MAG Sri Lanka Programme Update - October 2008

ACTIVITIES

All humanitarian mine action activities are undertaken from MAG's operational base in Batticaloa. MAG has been operational in Batticaloa since 2003, working towards achieving the impact free end-state, in line with Government of Sri Lanka policy.

Manual Clearance

The Mine Action Teams (MATs) are currently entirely funded by the United States, Department of State Political Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, under an emergency funding scheme. The teams use the raking method (pictured right) to clear land manually and undertake Battle Area Clearance for area reduction and greater efficiency in returning land in low risk areas. In 2008, the MATs have cleared 18,630 m2 manually and released 1,955,739 m2 through Battle Area Clearance.

Mechanical Clearance

MAG's mechanical capacity is currently funded by a contribution from the Japanese government. Two teams are deployed, using Bozena B4 mechanical flails to thresh the ground with a chain and hammer configuration. These assets are remote controlled, with an Operator and Supervisor standing outside of the danger area. The teams work in an integrated fashion with the manual clearance teams, undertaking ground preparation and verification of the low risk areas. In 2008, until the end of September, the mechanical teams have flailed 240,380m2 of land with the Bozenas, allowing for the quicker release of this land and faster completion of tasks than if the areas had been cleared manually.

Community Liaison

Community Liaison teams, funded by MAG America and Unicorn Grocery meet with local communities, humanitarian agencies and other stakeholders to gather and disseminate information about the mine threat in contaminated areas. Through data gathering, provision of safety briefings (pictured right) and survey, the teams inform clearance activities and increase the safety of people living and working in mine affected regions.

Up to September 2008, the teams met with 17 humanitarian and developmental organisations as part of the data gathering effort and undertook safety briefings in over 130 communities across Batticaloa district.

MAG would like to express its gratitude and sincere thanks to the following donors who have contributed to the Sri Lanka programme during 2008:

- Actiefonds Mijnen Ruimen

- BDO

- Good Gifts

- Jersey Overseas Aid

- 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 MAG Sri Lanka Programme Update - October 2008