2021 has continued to be a year of unprecedented challenges for families around the world; from the ongoing COVID pandemic and the continued humanitarian crisis in Syria, Libya and Yemen, to the conflict in Afghanistan and the threat posed by climate change to already vulnerable populations. But thanks to your support, HALO has been able to carry on working across its 28 programmes, making land safe and supporting communities to rebuild.
1. HALO Yemen carried out their first bulk demolition—destroying 500kg of explosive ordnance just outside Aden. Until the explosives left behind by the fighting are removed, families cannot return home and vital aid cannot reach those in need.
2. HALO Colombia marked a major milestone—destroying their 800th explosive device. Since the programme was established in 2013, thousands of people have benefitted from their land being made safe. By employing local people, HALO is also able to create opportunities in communities where they are scarce and provide families with a stable source of income.
3. Muhamalai in Sri Lanka became the Forward Defence Line during Sri Lanka’s protracted civil war. Tens of thousands of landmines were laid, forming a minefield three times the size of Central Park in New York. Earlier this year, our teams cleared their 60,000th landmine from the area, a proud moment for Task Commander Balamuralee Balasingam and his colleagues.
Balamuralee Balasingam, Task Commander, HALO Sri Lanka
4. In 2017, HALO launched a unique project in Angola to train and employ all-female demining teams, creating a space for women’s empowerment whilst clearing landmines and making land safe. On International Mine Awareness Day, we were delighted to announce that the project had recruited and trained its 100th member.
Cecilia Ngueve Cambanda, Section Commander, HALO Angola
5. July 2021 saw HALO’s team in Iraq clear their 3,130th improvised explosive device—exactly three years since they cleared their first. Kamila, a mother of nine, was forced to flee her home in Fallujah when ISIS over ran the area in 2014. When they returned four years later, their beautiful home was in ruins and IEDs littered the neighbourhood. HALO’s work to clear the explosives, allows families like Kamila's to rebuild their lives safely.
6. HALO works in some of the most inhospitable and remote places on Earth. To ensure they can reach communities surrounded by minefields, our teams need a fleet of 4x4 vehicles they can rely on to keep them safe and get the job done. We were therefore excited to announce earlier this year that we were to become the official development partner for INEOS Automotive for the uncompromising Grenadier 4x4 vehicle. Using our insight from over 30 years of going where others fear to travel, we have been collaborating with the Grenadier’s engineering team to help design a rugged, dependable off-roader.
7. Cambodia is HALO’s second oldest programme, and this year marked their 30th anniversary. Since they began work, our team of dedicated local staff have cleared over 300,000 landmines, transforming the lives of tens of thousands of families.
Smann Makara, EOD & Survey Manager, HALO Cambodia
8. From small beginnings in 2016, our Somalia programme now works along the Ethiopia - Somalia border and across four of the five regions of South Central Somalia. In August, our team of 400 local staff reached the major milestone of clearing one million square metres of land. For pastoralists in El Barde, safe land is transformational—allowing them to cultivate frankincense trees which can be tapped for their valuable resin.
9. Since 2015 HALO Zimbabwe has been working with local partner, Cassim's Prosthetics and Orthotics, to provide landmine accident survivors with artificial limbs. As of 2021, we have been able to provide prosthetics for over 120 people, supporting to them to regain their independence. For 75 year old Erina, her new limb allowed her to embrace life again.
Erina Jenyura, Zimbabwe
10. The struggle for control in Afghanistan over the summer killed thousands and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes. Heavy fighting left landmines and explosives blocking roads—preventing humanitarian aid from reaching those in need. Barely a week after the violent conflict ended, HALO’s Afghan staff were back out in the field, clearing these deadly devices to prevent further accidents and bloodshed. Today our 3,000-strong team are working across 18 provinces, helping families return home safely before the harshest winter weather hits.
These are just ten examples of the impact of your support throughout 2021. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, thanks to you, our teams have been on the ground, making land safe and supporting families and communities to rebuild after conflict. Thank you for the life saving difference you make, every day.