The Nagorno Karabakh war ended in 1994 with a ceasefire but no peace agreement between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan. In April 2016 the worst fighting since 1994 broke out over a four‐day period. Fighting occurred along the entire line of contact between the two sides and heavy weapons were used. In addition, cluster munitions were used against two adjacent villages in the north east of NK.
HALO’s major government donor, USAID, has allowed its funds to be used to conduct immediate surface clearance of the cluster munition strike but sub‐surface clearance of areas in and around the villages and on agricultural land is now required.
The funding from World Without Mines will enable one eight‐person battle area clearance team to clear these areas. In addition, a five‐person EOD and community liaison team will work with farmers as they return to use land close to the line of contact that contains new unexploded ordnance.
Ash Boddy, Programme manager, The HALO Trust commented:
This project will allow us to clear and release 86 hectares of contaminated farmland and domestic property in the villages or Nerkin Horatagh and Mokhratagh. By providing an emergency EOD call out service for civilians using land close to the line of contact we will also be able to deliver mine risk education and reduce the risk of accidents.
Claudine Bolay-Zgraggen, President of the Foundation World Without Mines added:
We are working for a world where people can live without fear of the remnants of war, one where farmers can till the soil again and where children can play safely again. This vital humanitarian project will benefit over 1,000 people by making land safe for farming and transit.
Since 2000, HALO has been the only organisation conducting mine clearance in Nagorno Karabakh. Our mission is to make the region mine free, reduce the threats from cluster munitions and ordnance, reopen roads and return agricultural, pastoral and forest lands to productive use.