Sudan: The circle of demining
In collaboration with the National Mine Action Centre, they task the clearance to one of their implementing partners. After the technical survey has identified and properly described the minefield to be cleared, the implementing partner deploys to the field. Red and whit stones demarcate mined areas after which the clearance operations begin. The local population is informed through Mine Risk Education teams. They conduct training sessions and liaise with the local community to inform them of the undergoing clearance operations.
Clearance operations may be lengthy and in many instances the locals want to use the land as soon as it is cleared. In the case of Kurmuk, our example, a safety path crosses the minefield and is already in use by the locals in their daily activities. Land and access have an exigency attached to them that one only perceives during visits to such fields. Upon the release of the land to the local population, the land is barren again, but not for long; the return and reconstruction begins shortly after. In our field in Kurmuk, the construction of houses boomed as soon as the land was released. The GPS markings on the trees tell the story of former mines contamination which are now but a memory. A direct road is being constructed to link Damazin to Kurmuk and the trade that accompanies infrastructure development is anticipated and welcomed in the area. Population displaced in Keli has returned to Kurmuk and began to construct on the land released in hopes of a better life. Five years into the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the Sudan is slowly moving away from Emergency response to recovery and development. UNMAO, in collaboration with the National Mine Action Authorities, joins this development trend and is happy to accept its humble role to peace building and sustainability. More than ever, in light of the political processes and decisions that the Sudan is about to face, the funding gaps faced by the programme negatively affect more than just demining operations; they jeopardize rebuilding efforts and the ability of local communities to use precious land and resources.