In March 2015 HALO Zimbabwe achieved the milestone of over 5,000 mines destroyed since clearance began in November 2013. This mine clearance has taken place along a 10km stretch of border in the Mashonaland Central region, along the northern border with Mozambique.
The impact of mines in Zimbabwe is acute with The Zimbabwe Mine Action Centre estimating that mines have claimed over 1,590 lives and injured over 2,000 people. In Zimbabwe HALO employs 153 national staff members, the majority of which are recruited from these mine affected communities.
Where HALO is working in the north east of the country mines are blocking access to residential land, inhibiting cross border trading, denying small scale farmers’ access to agricultural land and separate communities from their primary water source - adversely affecting sanitation and livestock production.
HALO’s clearance of this border minefield will remove the deadly hazard of mines and will release much needed land for residential and community development. It will also allow for huge tracks of fertile, communal land to be put back into productive use, making land safe for cultivation and livestock grazing.
HALO’s recent baseline socio-economic survey found that $55,000 worth of livestock have been lost to mine accidents by just 10% of the households that live along the short 10km stretch of minefield prior to HALO’s clearance. Livestock is the major investment commodity in rural Zimbabwe and therefore HALO’s work is imperative in safeguarding this investment for local families and communities. Safeguarding this investment protects livelihoods and enables greater food security.
While acknowledging this positive milestone, there remains a pressing need for continued mine clearance in the area. Our programme will continue to work along the 400km stretch of border minefield that has been assigned to HALO by the Government of Zimbabwe, in order to return land to communities and remove the deadly threat of hundreds of thousands of mines.
HALO Zimbabwe is supported by the governments of Japan, Ireland, the United States and World Without Mines. HALO is seeking additional donor support to increase its capacity and staff numbers.