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Story of a Land Mine Victim
In the Jaffna peninsula, Mohan Dharmalingam, a 30-year-old broom maker, was crossing a rice field early one Saturday morning, collecting sticks for his trade, when he lost his leg to a mine. “I used the same route through the rice fields as always”, he said. “I thought it was a safe path.”

Today, two-thirds of victims are from the poorest families – broom makers like Mohan, farmers, villagers, and refugees – live with the daily terror of mines. They go about their tasks knowing that there are mines lurking in their fields, plantations, orchards and grazing lands. They understand that sooner or later, one of them will die or be maimed by a mine or piece of unexploded ordnance (UXO), yet they have no other choice but to go about their daily business.

Mohan was one of the lucky ones. Even though his fellow villagers refused to come to his rescue, fearing that they too would set off a mine, he was able to crawl out of the minefield, was taken to a hospital in Jaffna and survived.

More than half of the victims of mine accidents die before reaching a medical facility.

Courtesy: U.S. Department of State

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