Twenty two years of data represents best practice for sector
CHIMOIO, MANICA PROVINCE – The HALO Trust hands over two shipping containers’ worth of mine clearance records to the government of Mozambique today, closing the final chapter of its 22-year history there.
The reports, which include maps and surveys, detail how HALO cleared over 171,000 known landmines from more than 1,100 minefields. They show that HALO clearance made a total of 17 million square meters of land safe for agriculture, the development of new infrastructure and community projects, such as hospitals and schools.
It is likely that after the last piece of cleared land has been re-taken by communities, there will be no remaining physical signs that Mozambique had ever been mined. The documents may therefore be the only enduring record of how landmines blighted daily life there for almost half a century.
Ash Boddy, Programme Manager of HALO Mozambique said:
“The handover of this data shows how seriously we take our responsibilities for record keeping. We are committed to leaving the countries we serve with a comprehensive data set, chronicling our work in the finest detail. By passing on our extensive knowledge of mine survey, clearance and disposal of ordnance to the authorities, we leave governments empowered and informed.
“These documents are a significant record of a major intervention in Mozambique’s recent history. As such they are part of the country’s DNA.”
Ridding Mozambique of landmines took 22 years and involved the work of 1600 national male and female HALO deminers. It was finally declared mine free in September 2015. The data records the lifecycle of HALO’s intervention, from its initial surveys and clearance of hazardous areas, to the disposal of explosive ordnance. It also records HALO’s pioneering community surveys, which recorded how local men, women and children were confident no other hazards remained and their communities were safe to the best of their knowledge. Finally, they document the handover of land back to the people to use in safety.
The keys to the shipping containers will be formally handed to Alberto Augusto, director of Mozambique’s National Demining Institute on Friday 26th February at a ceremony in Chimoio, Manica province. Mr Augusto stated:
“The records represent 22 years of tremendous service by the HALO Trust in assisting Mozambique to successfully declare mine free status, and will be used by current and future generations for the development of Mozambique.”
Today’s handover of data is cause for celebration. However, HALO is urgently seeking funding to continue its humanitarian mine clearance operations in other countries in Southern Africa, including Angola and Zimbabwe.
Ash Boddy commented:
“Whilst we are rightly proud to hand over the records of our work in Mozambique today, the people of Angola and Zimbabwe are still suffering the devastating everyday cost of landmines.”