In April 2014 HALO Zimbabwe destroyed its 1,000th mine, a mere six months after the start of demining operations in November last year. The achievement is all the more notable for the fact that the clearance is taking place in difficult conditions within a few metres of a road, a village and a school.
Zimbabwe’s mines problem receives little public attention but the border communities are severely impacted. HALO’s survey to date indicates that there are 12 minefields within 150m of schools, 19 minefields within 50m of houses and 31 minefields within 10m of cultivated land. There is a need to get funding for more HALO deminers as soon as possible to reduce the threat faced by these communities and to allow them to use their land without fear.
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs’ Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement is deploying the Quick Reaction Force (QRF), a group of civilian explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) experts, to Serbia, as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), a statement from the US Department of State reads.
The QRF will arrive on May 26 and work with local officials of both the Serbian and BiH Mine Action Centers to survey landmine-contaminated areas affected by the recent widespread floods.
Heavy rains in the Balkans have caused widespread flooding that has led to the possible shifting and uncovering of some of the 120,000 landmines remaining from the 1992-1995 conflict associated with the break-up of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.