When floodwaters finally receded Mozambican authorities faced a situation filled with uncertainty, and were left with far more questions than answers about the location of landmines.
Mozambique's National Demining Institute (IND), supported by The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is developing a National Mine Action Plan that will examine the landmine problem in Mozambique in light of the flooding. It emphasizes information gathering and the setting of tough priorities for site selection of areas to be targeted by deminers.
Emergency demining has already gotten under way in some areas that were previously flooded, allowing for the return of displaced people and reconstruction of crucial infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and power lines. Additionally, the Accelerated Demining Programme (ADP) -- a UNDP supported mine action NGO established in 1994 -- and the IND are working together to establish a National Mine Action Database. The Government of Canada and UNDP are providing technical assistance for the database, an important tool for future prioritization and planning of mine clearance. The database will be updated by December.
The threat of the dislodged landmines in Mozambique called for new resources for mine action. At the International Reconstruction Conference for Mozambique held in Rome in May, donors pledged US$7 million for emergency mine action efforts. The pledge was part of a $453 million reconstruction package that donors promised to finance.
Landmines remain one of the main legacies of Mozambique's 16-year civil war. Despite clearance efforts that started in 1992, the mines continue to pose a serious humanitarian threat and remain a constraint to Mozambique's development and rehabilitation.