Landmines still exist in 58 countries and four states

Landmine Production is Largely Over but Lives are Still Endangered

While the production and supply of landmines has largely stopped, there are mines still in the ground across the globe, affecting millions of lives. For more than two decades, The HALO Trust has set the standard for mine clearance and enabled millions of people to return to their homes without fear of death or injury.

Here are some facts about an often unnoticed global issue:

•Landmines still exist in 58 countries and four states, and they have devastating effects. Each and every day, nine people become casualties of landmines and explosive remnants of war.

•De-mining is an expensive and time-consuming process. In 2012 the cost of mine clearance was $681 million. It requires detailed and painstaking work and accurate surveying. For example, in some locations a deminer may only clear between 10-50 square metres a day, which is about 100-500 feet.

•De-mining creates jobs for thousands and provides a return to economic freedom. De-mining provides dignified, respected and valued employment for local citizens and has a significant positive financial impact on the mine-affected communities.

•Mine clearance offers a new life to families affected by conflict, and it directly contributes to peace building and a sustainable future. By clearing landmines from schools, water sources, hospitals, housing and farmland, whole generations and communities have the opportunity to rise out of poverty. We can solve this problem.

The HALO Trust has cleared over 1.5 million mines since 1988. Its current operations span 17 countries and territories: Abkhazia, Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Colombia, Georgia, Ivory Coast, Kosovo, Laos, Mozambique, Nagorno Karabakh, Somaliland, Sri Lanka, West Bank and Zimbabwe.

In countries such as Mozambique and Georgia our work is nearly finished, but many countries require more years of clearance. In Afghanistan for example, our current work plan extends to 2023. With more de-miners and equipment, we can shorten that time-frame and allow ordinary people to go about their lives free from danger.

For Pararasasingham Vejayakumar from Nagarkovil village, Sri Lanka, these efforts have had an immense impact on her quality of life. “Our village was on the front line for years. Now, after mine clearance, we have a village again,” she said.

Author: Amanda Pullinger