Colombo, 8 April 2022: A delegation from the U.S. Department of State visited Sri Lanka from April 3-8, 2022, to review U.S.-funded demining projects in Kilinochchi, Jaffna, Vavuniya, and Muhamalai. The United States contributed $8.3 million to demining efforts in Sri Lanka in 2021, resulting in many communities gaining safe access to land for housing, sanitation, and agricultural activities. Over the coming year, the U.S. government will provide an additional $7 million to assist Sri Lankan communities affected by landmines and unexploded ordnance.
Speaking of U.S. demining work, U.S. Ambassador Julie J. Chung said, “I am very proud of the long-standing U.S. support to demining efforts in Sri Lanka. We have invested over $86.3 million in demining since 1995, and those funds – together with contributions from international partners and local implementers – have protected Sri Lankans living in the affected area and enabled so many hard-working people to return home to farm, fish, and feed their families safely.”
While in Sri Lanka, the U.S. delegation met with officials from the National Mine Action Center (NMAC) and the Regional Mine Action Office (RMAO) in Kilinochchi to discuss close cooperation between the U.S. and Sri Lanka on demining and the important role that this work provides to community development. During their trip to the North, the delegation visited local and international implementing partner organizations, including the Delvon Association for Social Harmony (DASH), the Skavita Humanitarian Assistance and Relief Project (SHARP), the Hazardous Area Life-support Organization (HALO Trust), and the Mines Advisory Group (MAG).
The United States remains the world’s single largest financial supporter of global conventional weapons destruction efforts. In Sri Lanka, from 1995 to 2021, the United States invested more than $86.3 million for demining assistance for operations, equipment, education, training, and capacity-building. The U.S. support contributed towards clearance efforts in nine districts affected by landmine contamination and helped enable Batticaloa District to be declared mine-impact free in 2017.
To learn more about U.S. assistance to the demining efforts in Sri Lanka and around the world, please visit U.S. Department of State’s To Walk the Earth in Safety report.