The Women Who Are Clearing the Minefields in Sri Lanka

It has been nearly 10 years since the end of the Sri Lankan civil war, a horrific conflict that lasted more than 25 years and claimed an estimated 100,000 lives. A decade later, land mines and unexploded ordnance still litter the northern landscape, endangering those who are trying to return to their previous lives. Allison Joyce, a photographer with Getty Images, recently spent time with some of the Tamil women, many of them widows and survivors of the war, who work for the HALO Trust, one of the NGOs trying to clear one of the largest minefields in the world. Said Joyce: “Forty-four percent of HALO’s staff working in the minefields are female, of which 62 percent are the primary breadwinners of their family, and 37 percent have had relatives who were injured, killed, or went missing during the civil war. As of January 31, 2019, HALO Sri Lanka has cleared 309,354 mines and unexploded ordnance in Sri Lanka.”

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