International help to Vanni demining operations

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 27 August 2002, 00:13 GMT]
The Humanitarian Demining Unit (HDU), a subsidiary of Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) has begun operations in Vanni with modern protective gear provided by the British demining agency Mine Action Group (MAG), UK with the assistance of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

MAG and Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) have been providing training to HDU’s deminers to bring their operations up to International Mine Action Standards (IMAS). Although the HDU had operated effectively for the past two years clearing mines in the Vanni area, the operations were fraught with risks due to the lack of adequate protective equipment for the deminers. With the training provided by MAG and NPA, the HDU is now operating to international standards and has greater safety measures in place.

Vanni deminingMr Kantharupan, head of the field unit currently demining in the Pallai area said, "the training and protective gear recently offered have left us feeling much safer and organised. Although the process itself is much slower than before, the systematic operations will reduce potential injuries and will make it easier to account for all land mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) in the operational area."

HDU alone was responsible for the survey, removal and destruction of more than 82,000 land mines and over 140,000 UXOs in the Kilinochchi area before resettlement took place.

The HDU has taken measures to expand its demining activities to other parts of Vanni and beyond by increasing its team of 150 deminers to 600. Separate, newly formed units are being trained for new operations in the Trincomallee and Jaffna districts. It is estimated that more than 1.5 million land mines need clearing in the Vanni area alone.

Vanni demining


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