International mine awareness day in Somaliland

The HALO Trust marked International Mine Awareness Day in Somaliland by taking part in an event organised by the Somaliland Mine Action Centre (SMAC) on 4th April 2011 in Hargeisa.

The event started with a rally through Hargeisa in which 100 HALO deminers participated. HALO also set up a Mine Action Display for the members of the public who attended the event. The display showed the equipment HALO deminers use to conduct mine clearance, Mine Risk Education materials, and a Free From Explosive stand of landmines and ammunition most commonly found in Somaliland. A detector drill demonstration was also shown to those at the event, which included Abdirahman Abdillahi Ismail, the Vice-President of Somaliland.

Mohamad Ahmad Warsame, HALO Somaliland’s Programme Administrator highlighted HALO’s commitment to Somaliland explaining that with a larger capacity this year, due to increased donor support, HALO is expecting to clear over 100 minefields in 2011. Warsame also spoke of HALO’s successful partnership with Somaliland’s National Demining Agency (NDA). HALO is currently providing training, monitoring and financial support to the NDA, with the goal of developing NDA into a sustainable national capacity.

The HALO Trust has run a humanitarian mine clearance programme continuously in Somaliland since 1999 and it currently employs over 620 national staff. HALO and the NDA are the only organisations conducting mine clearance in Somaliland. Over the past 12 years HALO has cleared over 18,000 hectares of contaminated ground and has safely destroyed almost 100,000 mines and large caliber explosive items.HALO is kindly supported by eight donors: The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement of the U.S Department of State, and the Governments of Switzerland, Ireland, Norway, Finland, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.

HALO’s vital mine clearance work is not only preventing accidents from happening, but it is also opening up roads and enabling rural communities to put their farmland back into productive use. As a result, HALO’s work is importantly boosting development amongst mine impacted rural communities across Somaliland.