Sri Lanka’s Civil War, which ended in 2009, claimed the lives of around 80,000 people. Hundreds of thousands were forced to flee their homes, either because of fighting or because landmines made it too dangerous for them to stay. According to Landmine Monitor, over 20,000 people have been killed or injured by landmines and other explosives.
Even ten years on from the end of the war, many families still cannot return home because their land is not safe. Much progress has been made to clear the landmines but there is still work to be done if Sri Lanka is to become ‘mine free’ in 2020. Sasilika lost her right leg to a landmine during the war and dreams of a Sri Lanka free of landmines so she doesn’t have to fear for the future of her two young children.
Sasilika, landmine survivor
HALO is the largest landmine clearance organisation in Sri Lanka, with almost 800 staff. 40 per cent of our deminers are women, many of them previously displaced or war widows with children to support.
Our efforts are focused on helping Sri Lanka become mine-free, by clearing landmines and other explosives in the Jaffna peninsula, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu. We also visit schools and communities to teach people how to stay safe until all the landmines are gone. We are aiming to support over 48,000 Sri Lankans to rebuild their lives over the next two years. A third of these need their land to be made safe before they can return.