Secretary of State for International Development visits HALO

Today we were delighted to welcome Penny Mordaunt, Secretary of State for International Development, to visit HALO’s offices in Salisbury.

"I've come to Salisbury today to see first hand the amazing work ‎done by the demining charity The HALO Trust. Landmines are indiscriminate killers. They have maimed and killed 100,000 people around the world in the last 20 years. HALO set up an office in Salisbury last year and is helping to support the economy of this great British city."
She was keen to learn more about our work around the world and gain a fuller understanding of the mine clearance process.
"HALO, which UK Aid helps to fund, is working on the frontline in Afghanistan, Cambodia and Sri Lanka, to clear mines and make some of the world's most fragile countries safer places to live. Landmines stop‎ families and communities from using land that could be put to use to grow food and graze livestock, crippling local economies."

Susanna Smale, HALO's Training Manager, briefs Penny Mordaunt on our mine clearance process.

James Cowan, explaining the different types of mines that are found in post- conflict zones around the world.

SUPPORT FROM UK AID IS PROMOTING TECHNICAL INNOVATION TO HELP SAVE LIVES

At a recent speech at Chatham House, Penny Morduant spoke of the way UK Aid is funding technological developments to help some of the world’s most vulnerable people: "With new technology we have breathtaking possibilities, new solutions to old problems.”

HALO has a strong tradition of partnering with British technology and engineering companies to find new solutions to meet the evolving challenges of mine clearance across the world. Today we were were joined by our partners and suppliers from MMD, JCB, Cobham and FAUN Trackway who were able to demonstrate to the Secretary of State the profound benefits of our collaboration.

 

In 2012, HALO began a collaboration with MMD to develop a custom-made sizer rig to revolutionise mine clearance in Zimbabwe. With support from Westbury, ABB, Siemens and Conveyor Units, MMD has designed, built and donated the new sizer to HALO. The machine processes excavated soil using two 350 Series Sizers—ensuring any mines contained in the soil are crushed—and is strong enough to withstand mines detonating. It is estimated MMD’s creation will be able to destroy more than 100,000 landmines in Zimbabwe by 2025. Their expertise and generous donation will mean land can be returned to farmers sooner, children will no longer risk their lives walking to school through mined land and valuable cattle will not be lost to accidents.

Cobham is a leading expert in developing advanced Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) detection systems to support mine clearance and have been working with HALO in Cambodia since 2012. HALO currently uses Cobham’s hand-held MINEHOUND detector with its unique ability to detect metallic, minimum metal and non-metallic landmines. MINEHOUND allows HALO to reduce the amount of metal clutter that would otherwise need to be removed by hand. It reduces the False Alarm Rate by more than 95 per cent, ensuring a quicker, more efficient minefield clearance. We are also working together to trial new systems to provide ever-improved solutions to landmine clearance, including the Amulet Robot which can be operated remotely to detect landmines.

JCB AND HALO

JCB has a history of helping countries affected by major natural disasters, providing equipment to support relief and rebuilding efforts following the earthquakes in Nepal, Indonesia, Chile, Pakistan and Haiti and in the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. Their vehicles, designed to operate in the toughest of environments, have been specially adapted to help HALO clear landmines in countries across the globe, including our longest running programme in Afghanistan. JCB Dealer Scot JCB has been proudly supporting the charity for many years, supplying both new and used equipment.

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HALO and our engineering partners are always looking at new possibilities and how existing technology can be adapted. FAUN Trackway first developed temporary roadway solutions for military use worldwide but are increasingly supplying them to the humanitarian sector. For example, creating access routes or establishing hubs following natural disasters. Their trackway can be rapidly deployed and joined together to form infinite lengths, allowing access across hostile environments as well as creating a stable base for heavy machinery.

The Secretary of State met with Dr. Paul Ransom, head of HALO's Medical Group, and Dr. Gail Ng, Medical Group member. HALO's Medical Group are a fundamental part of our operations around the world, developing the medical standards we need to ensure the health and safety of all our staff and creating the training programmes for our minefield paramedics. They volunteer their time and vast expertise and are integral to supporting HALO's 8,000 global staff.

It was an honour to be able to welcome Penny Mordaunt to our office in Salisbury and to introduce her to some of our partners from the British technology and engineering sector. The support and collaboration of these companies is fundamental in allowing HALO to meet the ever evolving challenges of mine clearance as we work towards a landmine free world.