Jaffna gets first woman de-miner

[TamilNet, Monday, 16 December 2002, 00:13 GMT]
Ms. Niroja Srirajakumar, 19, of Navatkuly east of Jaffna town, became the first woman in Jaffna to join de-mining work in the peninsula, officials at the Jaffna District Secretariat said Sunday. Ms. Niroja was trained in de-mining techniques and safety procedures by a Swiss organisation in Vavuniya.

Thousands of displaced families in the northern peninsula are unable to settle in their villages and cultivate their land due to the presence of minefields sown by the Sri Lanka army (SLA).

Despite years of efforts by de-miners sponsored by the UNDP and US military de-mining team, large tracts of land belonging to displaced families in Jaffna are infested with many types of land mines and unexploded ordnance.

Meanwhile, the Humanitarian De-mining Unit (HDU) of the Liberation Tigers have been clearing many towns and thousands of acres of land of mines with basic implements and limited resources.

As a consequence, de-mining work in Jaffna has been enhanced under a unit established for the purpose at the Jaffna district secretariat. Many locals like Ms. Niroja have joined up for the hazardous work after receiving training in Vavuniya and Kilinochchi.

 

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