Nagorno Karabakh is a remote and beautiful place in the South Caucasus, a land of forest and mountains. However, its people have been haunted by the presence of landmines for more than two decades as a result of the 1988-94 Nagorno Karabakh War. In fact, there have been more landmine accidents per capita in Karabakh than anywhere else in the world. A quarter of the victims are children.
Like Oksen Baghdasaryan, most Karabakhis living in mined areas are dependent on agricultural land or woodland to support their families.
Oksen Baghdasaryan, Nagorno Karabakh
Since 2000, HALO has cleared almost 500 minefields in Nagorno Karabakh, making land safe and transforming the lives of more than 130,000 people. We visit schools and communities to teach people, especially children, how to stay safe until all the landmines are gone.
But landmines are not the only challenge. When fighting broke out briefly in 2016, homes and gardens were left strewn with yet more explosives—threatening the lives of local people. We reacted immediately, working with the Rescue Service to remove the dangerous items.
We continue to work to make Karabakh safe, clearing minefields and responding to emergency callouts by members of the public.
Mikhail Merjumian, Nagorno Karabakh
Mikhail Merjumian, who lost his leg in a landmine accident, is now benefitting from safe access to cleared land. He loves to have his two granddaughters, Ani and Ana, to come and stay. Previously, he always had to warn them to stay away from the minefield. Now, like the children from the local school, they can play freely and safely.