Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka promoting anti-mine awareness

COLOMBO, Jul 6, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The first weeks of July and August have been designated as "National Mine Action" weeks to raise awareness about landmines that continue to kill in Sri Lanka's north and east, Daily News reported Wednesday.

According to the Sri Lanka National Steering Committee on Mine Action, the months of July, August and September are the most dangerous for landmine injuries, the paper said.

Each year at this time, people return to their fields to begin planting and harvesting crops. "It is then that the lands of the north and east, seeded with explosives, reap their deadly harvest, " said a statement from the United Nations International Children' s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

"If we can reach people now so that they take the necessary precautions before they go back to the fields, then we can save lives. That is the aim of the Mine Action weeks," said Ted Chaiban, the UNICEF representative in Sri Lanka.

During these two weeks, activities will be held in the country' s north and east, and radio programs will be aired to alert people to the dangers of landmines and how to protect themselves against injury or death.

UNICEF is the leading agency for mine risk education in Sri Lanka under the overall coordination of the National Steering Committee on Mine Action, the paper added.

UNICEF and it partners also focus their work on school and community-based initiatives to educate children and communities about the dangers of landmines.