British High Commissioner visits HALO in Sri Lanka

New British High Commissioner visits the HALO Sri Lanka Programme

On 27th May HALO hosted a visit from the newly appointed British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, James Dauris. Mr Dauris is familiar with the problems of landmines having previously worked in Colombia, where HALO began clearance in 2013. The Sri Lanka Programme Manager and Jaffna Location Manager gave him an extensive briefing on HALO’s involvement in Sri Lanka so far, and what can be achieved in the next two years with renewed funding.

Arriving at Muhamalai minefield for the final shift of the day, Mr Dauris was impressed by the painstaking work required to conduct full manual excavation and the sheer number of mines that had been found. After the whistle blew for the end of the working day, he took the time to talk to one of the deminers, Sivanathan Kalaiyarasi, asking her about her work with HALO. Kalaiyarasi explained that she was proud to have worked for HALO since 2011 at Sri Lanka’s two biggest minefields in Nagarkovil and Muhamalai, and had found nearly 60 anti-personnel mines in her career so far.

On leaving the minefield Mr Dauris commented how fantastic it was to see that HALO, as the last remaining DFID-funded partner in Sri Lanka, was putting UK funds to such effective use.