of the fallout
British photographer Tim Dickinson has accompanied teams
involved in de-mining operations in the Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi,
Vavuniya, Mannar and Trincomalee districts over the last three months.
His photographs of people, places and de-mining activities are a
pictorial record of the devastation as well as the reconstruction
work being carried out.
and the consequences of conflict in Sri Lanka, are the focus of
'The Fall-Out', Tim's photographic exhibition now on at the World
Trade Centre lobby until April 3.
of conflict have resulted in a large number of unexploded ordnance
(UXO) and mines in the northern and eastern districts, directly
affecting areas where around 2,500,000 people live. These mines
continue to pose a threat, especially at a time when most of the
regions are in the process of resettlement.
Support to Mine Action in Sri Lanka involves a partnership between
UNICEF and UNDP. While UNICEF has been providing support to mine
risk education and survivor assistance activities, UNDP is in the
process of preparing the full assistance project document for UN
Support to mine action in Sri Lanka.
The goal of
the project is to assist the government to provide a positive environment
for mine action; strengthen the local and national capacity to coordinate
all aspects of Mine Action and to provide support to humanitarian
relief and developmental activities.
UNDP is the
major sponsor of the photography exhibition with additional support
from Norwegian People's Aid, the European Union and Halo Trust.
Tim was on
holiday in Sri Lanka in September, last year, when he accompanied
a friend to the north east. He saw large areas razed to the ground
and abandoned. The places seemed dead, with no phones, plumbing
after six months of the ceasefire, nobody was doing rebuilding or
reconstruction, he says. The most visible projects were the
demining activities both by the army and the LTTE with the assistance
from NGOs and aid agencies. While in the northeast he made contact
with the Norwegian Peoples Aid for whom he took photographs
of mine action.
Later he offered
his service to UNDP. Thats how his involvement with mine action
How does mine
action work in an area? "The teams initially talk to community
members and gather information about people being injured in a particular
area; that a certain field has not been used for some time because
a cow was blown up there; a woodcutter losing his leg in the woods,
etc. By careful observation and colours on the posts they can make
out that the arrangement fits a pattern, that the stretches extending
sometimes for 10 kilometres follow a marking system, he says.
of the mines were planted several years ago, some were buried shortly
before the ceasefire. The majority is triggered by a foot or trip
wire. Some have a sensor attached, which can be detonated by remote
control. Mines can be detected using a detector or a light Chinese
manufactured rake. There are many risks involved in de-mining. Tim
was constantly aware of the danger. "You need to have faith
in the group that you are working with," he says.
as assistant to a studio photographer and went on to being an assistant
in a dark room.
The next eight
years saw him doing hard news for the Express, The Sunday Times,
a few pieces for the Sunday Telegraph, The Mail on Sunday and The
Press Association in UK. His work has also been featured in magazines
such as Paris Match and Time Out.