Across the Horn of Africa the humanitarian situation is fragile due to ongoing droughts, famine and economic hardship. Along the Ethiopia border region with Somaliland and Somalia, the presence of landmines laid during the Border War, Ogaden War and ensuing Somali Civil War pose an additional threat to local people.
Landmines kill valuable livestock and restrict access to already scarce resources such as water and grazing land, exacerbating existing inter-clan conflicts. The Somali region of Ethiopia is an essential part of the the Berbera corridor project—opening up trade routes from Berbera Port in Somaliland, to Ethiopia, and the interior of the Horn of Africa. As the roads are rebuilt, population pressures are increasing in the border region, compounded by a succession of severe droughts pushing traditional nomadic communities into the local villages. Between October 2021 and June 2022, 440,000 people were displaced by the drought in the Somali Region. In the search for land, families are unknowingly travelling through, or setting up home, on unmarked minefields, putting lives and livelihoods at risk.
HALO has cleared several minefields around the villages of Dabogoryaale and Khatumo on the Somaliland side of the border since the early 2000s. In October 2022, we began work to clear the minefields on the Ethiopian side of both villages. In 2022, HALO Ethiopia survey teams will also begin a baseline assessment of all remaining landmine contamination in the Somali Region in coordination with regional authorities, ensuring that all known hazardous areas are accurately mapped. To keep families safe until all the mines are removed for good, we are running risk education sessions for local communities in the border region.