Sri Lanka on Thursday declared an eastern town which was battered for nearly 30 years during a brutal war, free of landmines.
The Army media unit said that the formal declaration to mark the first mine-affected district of Sri Lanka reaching a level of residual risk was signed and handed over by stakeholders during a ceremony in the eastern Batticaloa district.
The Sri Lanka Army Humanitarian De-mining Unit (SLA-HDU), together with other International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) and local Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), have succeeded in clearing minefields in Batticaloa, the Army said.
The Sri Lanka army humanitarian de-mining unit was able to clear 83% of the mine affected areas in Batticaloa while INGOs and local NGO stakeholders who joined the de-mining drive in 2009 in Batticaloa, were able to clear a total of 17% of the affected areas.
Sri Lanka was involved in a 30 year war with Tamil Tiger rebels in the North and East of the country before the rebels were defeated in May 2009.
Following the end of the war clearing of the affected areas continues to this day with unexploded mines being recovered.
The Sri Lanka army with the end of the conflict in 2009, Sri Lanka army de-miners, as the only stakeholders who could take up the challenge and unearth mines or other unexploded ordnance laid by the terrorists began the de-mining project in earnest.
The army de-miners have been involved in clearing of minefields in the country since the year 2002.