Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Lankan boy dies as bomb explodes in hands during beachcombing

Khaleej Times Qadijah Irshad / 6 June 2012

COLOMBO — A 15-year-old boy was killed when a bomb belonging to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) exploded in his hands at a beach in Nainateevu, Jaffna.

Investigations have revealed that the ‘Arul bomb’ which the boy had picked up on the beach 10 minutes away from his home, was corroded and was unidentifiable as an explosive.

The bomb was a popular explosive used by the LTTE during the three-decade war against the Sri Lankan army.

“We were able to determine that the Arul bomb the boy had picked up was heavily corroded to an extent that the boy could not identify it as an explosive. We believe it might have exploded when he tried to clear the corrosion because he would have thought it was something of value,” said Military Spokesperson Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya.

The parents of the boy said that their son had the habit of combing the beach for interesting items every morning.

June 5, 2012 Posted by | ERW, Explosive Remnants of War, Sri Lanka, UXO | , , , , , | Leave a comment

UN Finds Cluster Bombs in Sri Lanka

Boston Globe AP  April 26, 2012

NEW DELHI—A report from a U.N. mine removal expert says unexploded cluster munitions have been found in northern Sri Lanka, appearing to confirm, for the first time, that the weapons were used in that country’s long civil war.

The revelation is likely to increase calls for an international investigation into possible war crimes stemming from the bloody final months of fighting in the quarter-century civil war that ended in May 2009. The government has repeatedly denied reports it used cluster munitions during the final months of fighting.

Cluster munitions are packed with small “bomblets” that scatter indiscriminately and often harm civilians. Those that fail to detonate often kill civilians long after fighting ends.

They are banned under an international treaty adopted by more than 60 nations that took effect in August 2010, after the Sri Lankan war. The nations that haven’t adopted the treaty include Sri Lanka, China, Russia, India, Pakistan and the U.S., which says the bombs are a valid weapon of war when used properly.

The Associated Press obtained a copy Thursday of an email written by a U.N. land mine expert that said unexploded cluster bomblets were discovered in the Puthukudiyiruppu area of northern Sri Lanka, where a boy was killed last month and his sister injured as they tried to pry apart an explosive device they had found to sell for scrap metal.

The email was written by Allan Poston, the technical adviser for the U.N. Development Program’s mine action group in Sri Lanka.

“After reviewing additional photographs from the investigation teams, I have determined that there are cluster sub-munitions in the area where the children were collecting scrap metal and in the house where the accident occurred. This is the first time that there has been confirmed unexploded sub-munitions found in Sri Lanka,” the email said.

During the final weeks of the war, tens of thousands of civilians and Tamil Tiger rebel fighters were trapped in a tiny section of Puthukudiyiruppu as attacking government forces closed in on them.

Lakshman Hulugalla, a Sri Lankan government spokesman on security matters, said the military had not used cluster munitions in the war.

“We are denying that information,” he said.

The U.N. did not immediately respond to an AP request for comment

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April 26, 2012 Posted by | Demining, ERW, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Explosive Remnants of War, Landmines, Mine Clearance, United Nations, UXO | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SRI LANKA: Mine clearance could take 10 years or more

IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis

COLOMBO, 6 February 2012 (IRIN) – Landmine clearance in Sri Lanka’s conflict-affected north could take more than a decade, experts say.

“It is expected to take [in] excess of 10 years to fully mitigate all remaining contamination in Sri Lanka,” the Mine Action Project of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Sri Lanka told IRIN, citing a lack of resources coupled with the difficult nature of the work.

Approximately 126 sqkm of land remains to be cleared in the island’s north at the end of 2011, according to data from the National Mine Action Centre (NMAC).

Set up in July 2010, NMAC is the government’s lead agency in de-mining work in the country.

As of 31 December 2011, the largest remaining area was in Mannar District (33.8 sqkm), followed by Mullaitivu (27.7 sqkm), Kilinochchi (23 sqkm), Vavuniya (15 sqkm) and Jaffna (5 sqkm) in the north.

Smaller areas are in borderline districts of Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura, along with some parts of the east.

Barrier to return

More than 6,700 conflict-displaced, mainly from Mullaitivu District, continue to live at Menik Farm outside the town of Vavuniya, where more than 200,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) once lived following the end of the war between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which had been fighting for an independent Tamil homeland since 1983.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), since 1 January 2009, more than 554 sqkm have been cleared of mines and UXO (unexploded ordnance) in the north and east of the country.

The humanitarian demining unit of the Sri Lanka Army, international organizations – Danish Demining Group (DDG), HALO Trust, Horizon, Mines Advisory Group (MAG), Sarvatra, and Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD)] – and two national organizations – Delvon Assistance for Social Harmony (DASH) and the Milinda Moragoda Institute for Peoples’ Empowerment (MMIPE)] – are engaged in demining work.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) carries out mine risk awareness programmes in the north and east.

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February 6, 2012 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Demining, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Explosive Remnants of War, Humanitarian Assistance, Landmines, Mine Clearance, Sri Lanka, United Nations | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lanka’s half million mines will take a decade to clear

Reuters/Mannar The Gulf Times    September 21, 2010

Post-war Sri Lanka will need another decade to clear the half million landmines which lie buried under swathes of agricultural and forest land and around villages in the north of the island nation, the head of a demining group said.
The country is in its third year of peace after government forces defeated the separatist Tamil Tigers in a civil war which lasted a quarter of a century, killing and injuring tens of thousands of people.
But as people who fled the fighting return home to rebuild their lives, they still face the threat of anti-personnel mines and unexploded ordnance (UXOs) like bombs, rockets and hand grenades left behind by the Tamil Tigers and Sri Lankan army.
“Based on our current clearance rates, there are perhaps half a million landmines that need to be cleared,” said Nigel Robinson, country head of the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD), which has cleared 60,000 mines
since 2002.
“So it’ll perhaps take 10 years for Sri Lanka to become fully mine-impact free, assuming the current capacity of de-miners can be maintained,” he told Reuters in an interview from a clearing in a minefield in the northwest district of
Mannar.
The FSD has 750 de-miners clearing the mines, aided by other specialist groups. There are no official figures on exactly how many mines and UXOs were used during the war, although some reports suggest more than a million mines were planted during the 25 years

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September 22, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Demining, Humanitarian Assistance, NGO's, Sri Lanka | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Demining on fast-track in Kilinochchi

Chamikara WEERASINGHE Daily News Sri Lanka  June 11, 2011

Sri Lankan Army and UN-sponsored de-mining teams have cleared 60 per cent of mine-containing land in Kilinochchi. The National Steering Committee on Mine Action (NSCMA) yesterday said LTTE had laid over 1.4 million landmines in the Kilinochchi district.

“They are being removed, de-mining is on a fast track,” NSCMA sources said. Nearly 90 per cent of an estimated quarter million displaced were resettled, sources said and added that Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu remain to be cleared of landmines.

Meanwhile, the government on Thursday and Friday resettled 4,000 displaced families in Jaffna. The 4,000 families or 18,000 men, women and children were resettled in the 9,000 square meter High Security Zone (HSZ) with the security clearance being given by the Ministry of Defence. Resettlement Ministry Secretary B M U D Basnayaka said they will resettle the rest of the IDPs no sooner the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu lands are cleared of landmines. IDPs at Manik Farm will be resettled soon in their places of origin.

Basnayaka said they will be able to end the the process of resettlement before the end of December.

Asked about the facilities given to IDPs and the resettled, he said there is more than enough food, water and sanitary facilities at their welfare camps with the number of IDPs being reduced to less than ten per cent.

He said Economic Development Ministry is looking after the resettled. The Ministry is looking after their livelihood maintenance.

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June 17, 2011 Posted by | Demining, Landmines, Mine Clearance, United Nations | , , , | Leave a comment

UK allocates £3 million for Sri Lanka demining

Sri Lanka Sunday Observer

Visiting British Minister of Foreign and Commonwealth Office Mr Alistair Burt said that the British government would allocate £3 million for the demining work in Sri Lanka. Mr. Burt announced this when he met the Minister of Economic Development, Basil Rajapaksa at the Presidential secretariat.  He further emphasized the British Governments commitment toward Sri Lanka, stating that the key part of his visit would be promoting bilateral trade between the two countries. During the discussion two Ministers exchanged the ideas about trade and investment ties between two countries and the progress of development in Sri Lanka.

February 23, 2011 Posted by | Demining, Sri Lanka | , , | Leave a comment

Rs 140 m Japanese grant for North

Daily News Sri Lanka National Newspaper

The Japanese Government provided of US$ 876,121 (approximately Rs. 98 million) grant aid for two reconstruction and a demining projects in the North through Sarvodaya, Sewalanka Foundation, and The HALO Trust to meet the emergency needs of the area and to promote peace and development of Sri Lanka under its Grant Assistance for Grass roots Human Security Projects (GGP).

The first project is the Project for Ensuring the Long Term Food Security of Resettled Communities in the Northern Province, which will be implemented by Sarvodaya. US$ 143,004 is allocated to rehabilitate 60 agricultural wells and three irrigation channels and to construct 30 agricultural wells in Oddusudan, Maritimepattu DS divisions in Mullaitivu District and Kandavalai DS division in Kilinochchi District.

More than 2,500 families will be benefitted from the project by enhancing water access, improving farming and empowering self sustainability.

The second is the Project for Supporting the Initial Socio-Economic Needs of Resettled Communities in the Northern Province, which will be implemented by Sewalanka Foundation.

This integrated project will support livelihood activities of resettled communities by providing agricultural and fishery equipment, constructing and rehabilitating five community centers and 55 wells in Maritimepattu and Oddusudan in Mullaitivu and Vavuniya North. US$ 203,117 has been allocated to the project which is expected to benefit more than 2,500 families.

The third project will be implemented by the HALO Trust to demine and to facilitate a safety environment in Jaffna and Kilinochchi Districts. US$ 530,000 is allocated for the project and it will contribute to resettlement of more than 20,000 people. Japan has been continuously assisting demining projects in Sri Lanka since 2003 to accelerate early resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and improve lives of resettled communities and has provided a total amount of US$ 21 million (approximately Rs. 2,350 million) to-date.

The Grant Contracts between Japanese Ambassador Kunio Takahashi, and organization representatives were signed November 17, 2010 at the Embassy of Japan in Colombo. Besides these three projects, the Japanese Government also extended grant aid on November 11 for another demining project in the North. This demining project is implemented by DASH, a local demining organization, and US$ 373,200 is allocated to demine and to facilitate safety environment for more than 5,000 people in Kilinochchi district. Sixty deminers would be employed from the local community and the project will also simultaneously contribute to providing employment opportunities to the residents in the area. In total, Japan has extended US$ 1.25 million for these four projects in the North only in this year

November 18, 2010 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Demining, NGO's, Sri Lanka | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Demining the road

Gulf Times May 2, 2010

A warning sign for unexploded mines is seen in Elephant Pass, the main land route connecting Colombo to the island’s northern Jaffna peninsular. The army estimates over 1mn mines and unexploded devices were buried in the war-torn north by the now defeated Tamil Tiger rebels, during the 37-year ethnic conflict that the UN estimates, claimed over 100,000 lives.

May 2, 2010 Posted by | Demining, United Nations | , , , , , | Leave a comment