US demining aid to alleviate Jaffna mine woes, says Jaffna SLA commander
[TamilNet, Sunday, 08 August 2010, 04:16 GMT]
With the United States announcing a fresh aid amounting to US$ 5.4 million to assist the demining activities in the northern province, steps have been taken to expedite demining and make the Jaffna peninsula an area free of demining by September this year, Jaffna Commanding Officer Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe is reported to have said. Nearly one-third of the aid will bolster equipment capability of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA's) "Humanitarian Mining Unit," according to figures released by the US embassy in Colombo.
The US embassy in Colombo, said the United States stands committed to assisting Sri Lanka in caring for those persons displaced by the conflict and in helping them return to their homes and begin their lives.
“The U.S. will contribute Rs. 581 million ($5.417 million) for humanitarian demining needs in Sri Lanka from now through next summer,” the US embassy in Colombo said.
These funds follow on the Rs. 742 million ($6.6 million) contribution from the United States last July to the four international demining agencies currently working in the North.
Of this latest funding, Rs.440 million ($3.917 million) will be dedicated to those same international demining agencies; Rs. 56 million ($500,000) is being used to purchase six ambulances, nine personnel carriers, and six double-cab trucks for the Sri Lanka Army's Humanitarian Demining Unit; and for the remaining Rs. 112 million ($1 million), the U.S. Embassy will work with the Humanitarian Demining Unit to identify and procure equipment that will enable further progress of demining.
Steps have also been taken to accelerate the removal of all unexploded ordnance devices in the peninsula.