Japan provides Rs.115 million for demining activities in Northern Province | Daily News

Japan provides Rs.115 million for demining activities in Northern Province

The Government of Japan provided a sum of US$ 620,379 (approximately Rs.115 million) to the Skavita Humanitarian Assistance and Relief Project (SHARP) for demining activities in Northern Sri Lanka. The grant contract was signed by Japanese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Sugiyama Akira and SHARP Programme Manager Lt. Col. (Rtd.) V.S.M. Jayawardhana on Thursday at the Ambassador’s Residence in Colombo.

The Government of Sri Lanka aims to achieve ‘A Mine-Impact-Free Sri Lanka’ within a few years and become the next mine-impact-free country in the world. Towards this endeavor, Japan has been a major donor in mine clearance in the country since 2002.

The Government of Japan is SHARP’s primary donor and has provided necessary funding for mine clearance since its inception in 2016, when its first programme was launched in Kilinochchi. Subsequently, SHARP cleared more than 1.5km2 of minefields through funds disbursed from Japan’s Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP). Japan has provided financial assistance amounting to US$ 38.8 million to SHARP and to the other three demining NGOs currently operational in Sri Lanka.

The project is expected to contribute to the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka in ensuring that mine-contaminated areas are safe, enabling the resettlement of displaced people and enhancing their livelihoods directly or indirectly in the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts.

Commenting on the provision of this grant, Lt. Col. (Rtd.) V.S.M. Jayawardhana said, “Today marks the granting of GGP funds to SHARP by the Embassy of Japan for the fifth consecutive year, for which we are appreciative and grateful to the Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka for assisting and encouraging SHARP to commence demining operations in 2016 and, thereafter, continuously grant funding support annually for SHARP. SHARP receives funding only from the Japanese GGP programme.

SHARP has cleared a total of 1,574,573m2 and recovered 9,135 anti-personnel mines, 119 anti-tank mines, 3,289 UXOs, and over 12,000 SAAs since November, 2016, to date, with over 1,500 families directly and indirectly benefitted.

“SHARP will continue to carry out its operations to the best of its ability; diligently, efficiently, and effectively, cooperating with the staff of the Embassy of Japan and all other agencies to completely justify the funds provided and fulfil the desires of our sponsors,” Jayawardhana said.

“The gratitude and thanks of all members of SHARP is conveyed to Ambassador Sugiyama Akira, all GGP staff members of the Embassy of Japan, and the people of Japan for their unstinted support by sponsoring SHARP since its inception, and more so ever for the Embassy of Japan for being in the forefront of demining activities in Sri Lanka and for their continuous concern and assistance for the well-being of the people of our country,” he added.