For more than five decades, the people of Colombia have suffered the consequences of warfare between illegal armed groups. Landmines were laid throughout rural areas, devastating local towns and villages. Nearly 12,000 people have been killed or injured by mines since 1990—that’s a casualty rate second only to Afghanistan.
These, often crude explosive devices don’t just endanger lives, they destroy livelihoods. Families are too afraid to use their land to grow crops, natural resources are cut off and children cannot walk to school or play outside without fear of accidents. Eisenhower lives in the village of Canyon de las Hermosas and, like many other villages in Colombia, residents here are too frightened to cultivate their land.
HALO has been clearing landmines in Colombia since 2013, making land safe across Antioquia, Meta, Tolima, Cauca, Valle del Cauca, Nariño and Putumayo and soon to begin work in Norte de Santander. We’ve removed landmines from coffee plantations, farms, veredas (villages) and indigenous reserves. Our survey teams have also reported nearly 900 veredas as landmine free. This is equally important work as it restores confidence, so people feel safe to use their land again.
There are still vast swathes of land to be cleared, so we help children and local communities￼ stay safe by teaching them about the risks and what to do if they come across a landmine or explosive device.