Clearing a safe path in Puthukudiyuruppu

Puthukudiyuruppu Division saw some of the most intense fighting between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Army in the final stages of the civil war. After the fall in late 2008 of Kilinochchi, the LTTE’s de-facto capital, the SLA continued its push through the Vanni towards the east coast.

In 2009 the fighting arrived at the front door the Geevarasa family. They were forced to flee, leaving most of their belongings behind, and entered into Menik Farm welfare camp. When they returned to their home in 2011 they found their house had been occupied. Some of their belongings had even been found in Mullivaikal, several kilometres to the south and the scene of the last battle between LTTE and SLA troops.

There was worse to come however, when Anton Geevarasa discovered when he attempted to plough the land shortly after the family returned. The area had been mined, rendering the land useless and the family without a livelihood.

A local HALO team arrived in the area in late 2014. By February 2015, deminers had found and removed 13 anti-personnel mines in the vicinity of the Geevarasas’ home. Anton was able to start cultivating his market garden and paddy fields to provide for his wife and their three children again. Sadly he is still unable to fully cultivate his coconut palms, during to tree damage caused by mortars and ammunition. But the clearance of mines from their front garden has helped them rebuilt their lives back home in safety.

 

The Geevarasa family

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