International Mine Action Day observed in Kilinochchi (SRI LANKA)

"We lost 15 lives in 119 landmine accidents in 2000 when the White Pigeon Organisation (WPO) was created whereas in 2005, we lost no lives and the number of landmine accidents were only 15, which prove the success of the WPO's mine risk education awareness campaign," said Dr. T. W.


Jeyakularajah, President WPO and the Mullaithivu district Deputy director of Health Services, Tuesday 10:00 a.m. at the International Mine Action Day celebration in Kilinochchi Central College, in Kilincochchi.

Statistics displayed at the event. Columns (L-R): Year, # accidents, # people affected, # injured by Mines, # injured by UXOs, # deaths

Miss. Penny Brune UNICEF lighting the traditional lamp accompanied by Addl. G. A, Mr. Vethanayagan

Ms. Penny Brune, UNICEF Vanni residential representative, participating in the ceremony said that the White Pigeon organisation, though very small when it was begun to engage in landmine risk education awareness campaign, has rendered praiseworthy service in the last 5 years.

Vincent Vijayadas, the WPO representative, began the event hoisting the national flag and Ms Penny Brune lit the traditional lamp joined by Additional Government Agent N. Vethanayagan and representatives of UNHCR and ICRC.

Dr. Jeyakularajah, President WPO and Dep. director Mullaitivu district health services.
"Our organisation, with the invaluable assistance of the UNICEF, has served its purpose to the satisfaction of all concerned and the credit goes to the dedication of the organisation's staff," said Dr. Jeyakularajah.

"I was told that it would take three more years to complete de-mining. Therefore our landmine risk awareness should continue vigorously ensuring hundred percent safety for our people," added the president of WPO.

Following the inauguration of the ceremony, stage events began with the lighting of the common flame.

After the addresses delivered by the president and Ms Brune, speeches were made by Kilinochchi Central College Principal, Mr. N. Vethanayagan, WPO members Ramasamy Kurukal, Ms. Jeyanthi and Mr. Kandasmy.

The first phase of the landmine risk awareness campaign was promoted in Jaffna with the assistance of Jaffna Government Secretariat and the Jaffna University, Ms Brune said. A center was opened in the Vanni region in collaboration with the WPO, the organisation which was involved in the landmine risk awareness campaign with expertise and efficient service, she added.

Meanwhile, in Trincomalee too International Mine Action Day was celebrated Tuesday morning, organised by UNICEF and its co-partners. Vehicles decked with landmine risk awareness campaign material were taken in procession in Trincomalee region and a cycle race for disabled youths affected by landmine mishaps was held on Tuesday morning, said sources.

Statistics displayed at the event.

Ms Gabriella Elroy, UNICEF Chief in Trincomalee, briefed the press at the Trincomalee district secretariat about the International Mine Action Day in the meeting presided by Mr. A. Nadarajah, Trincomalee District Additional Government Agent. The Landmine risk awareness campaign stage events beginning at 4 p.m in the Trincomalee beach grounds, continued throughout the evening.

Von: 06.04.06

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