Thousands of people have been killed or maimed by landmines that litter the conflicttorn countryside.

NAYPYIDAW: Formal national level discussions on landmine clearing involving key ministries and the military have begun.

Disaster Management Department deputy director U Tun Zaw said the Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Ministry, Home Affairs Ministry and the military were present at the discussions.

According to The Myanmar Times, the preliminary meeting was held here last week.

Tun Zaw said the discussions focused on the setting up of a National Mine Action Authority, and a mine action centre which would be established under the Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Ministry.

There were also discussions about the Defence Ministry forming state and regional level mine-clearing groups.

“We can’t keep doing rescue work only.

“If landmines remain, there will always be victims.

“It is better if there are no more landmines, so we plan to form a national body for landmine clearing,” Tun Zaw said.

Thousands of people have been killed or maimed by landmines that litter the conflicttorn countryside.

Both the military and ethnic-armed groups have remained reluctant to give up the use of landmines despite appeals from international organisations.

The Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Ministry pledged to provide 200,000 kyat and prosthetic limbs for each victim of landmine explosions.

Tun Zaw said the government was well aware of the difficulty of displaced people in returning to their homes with the risk of landmines. It is estimated that there are 90 townships harbouring landmines in the country.

Nearly 1,600 people were wounded by landmines from 2011 to 2018 in the country, according to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines group.