Sri Lanka has said that its intense mine clearing operation in the war-torn northern province is coming to an end, with less than 100 sq km of mine-infested area left. The National Mine Action Center said that confirmed hazard area left to be cleared of anti-personnel mines was just 96 sq-kms.
In other words, 95 per cent of the estimated 2064 sq-kms has been cleared by March end. The remaining area is shrubs and thick jungle, authorities said. Demining began in June 2009, right after the end of the three decades long armed clashes with the Tamil rebels. Both the LTTE and the Lankan Army used anti-personnel mines as a major weaponry to defend their territories in the northern parts of the island nation. Sri Lanka's demining action was funded by Australia, Japan, China, India, EU, US and also by UNDP and UNICEF. The minister of economic development, Basil Rajapaksa, who is the younger brother of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa took a leading role in coordinating the international support for demining activities.