MAG is delighted to welcome a new $6.1 million commitment from the US government to support our work saving lives and clearing landmines in Angola.
The funding will help 45,000 people in the province of Moxico in the east of the country by making safe over three million square meters of land and removing over seven thousand landmines and other explosive remnants of war.
Forty years of conflict from 1961 to 2002 left Angola strewn with an estimated one million landmines and many more unexploded bombs.Today, over 88,000 Angolans are living with disabilities due to landmine injuries and hundreds of thousands more are stuck in landmine-related poverty, unable to use their land. The majority of victims reported over the last five years have been children.
Late last year, Prince Harry highlighted the issue when he visited the place in Angola where his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales first drew worldwide attention to the global landmine problem in 1997.
The Duke of Sussex—a prominent supporter of the Landmine Free 2025 campaign to rid the world of landmines—visited the city of Huambo where Diana walked with a protective vest and visor and he found the former minefield was now a bustling community, completely cleared of landmines.
Great progress has been made to date, with 70 per cent of Angola's hazardous areas now declared safe, but there is much work to do with over 1,100 known and suspected minefields remaining.
MAG has been working in Angola for 25 years. In the last decade alone, with the support of our donors and the Angolan government, MAG has released more than 10 million square metres of minefields for communities—five times the size of the country of Monaco.
The US government is already the biggest funder of mine action in Angola — and the latest grant represents a significant uptick in support, which will fund MAG's vital work until 2023.
Over the 39 month period, the $6.1 million grant will enable MAG to increase its landmine clearance capacity and support the release of a further 3,304,750 square metres of land, helping to keep communities in the region safe.
MAG CEO Darren Cormack said:
“This new funding from the US government is wonderful news for Angola as it will benefit 45,000 people, over three-quarters of those being women and children, helping free many of them from the ever-present fear of landmines and unexploded bombs.
“Although great progress has been made since Princess Diana first brought Angola’s landmine problem to the world's attention, there is still much work to be done to help the country achieve its goal of being landmine free by 2025.
“Despite the many global challenges we face, we applaud the US government’s long-term commitment to removing landmines and unexploded bombs from countries affected by war."
A representative of the US State Department's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement said:
"We are proud to continue supporting MAG's lifesaving work in eastern Angola. Over the span of 25 years, the United States has provided over $145 million for conventional weapons destruction in Angola, more than any other international donor. This expansion of our support demonstrates our commitment to the safety and prosperity of the Angolan people."
MAG's work in Angola would not be possible without the support of our donors, including the US government.