Can you even begin to imagine living in a community where one wrong footstep could end your life and injure or kill the people around you? The mere thought that a simple walk might be their last trek keeps citizens of post-conflict communities living in a constant state of fear – which means they’re barely living at all.
Landmines, by design, are hidden weapons, secret dangers intended to injure, maim, or kill anyone in their path. In at-risk communities, the dust from battles waged may have settled, but danger still exists – making demining of utmost importance to the innocent civilians living in post-conflict territories.
True peace is hardly possible for a community when landmines are left behind for anyone to trigger accidentally – an adult, a vehicle, even a child. Remnants of conflict kill and injure between 15,000 and 20,000 people every year – that’s one person every 20 minutes. And while the detonation of a landmine can create a swathe of damage to people near and far, their presence also creates an inability to rebuild and prosper.
The goal of demining is to make growth a possibility again.
As it stands, in conflict-affected areas, lands impinged by landmines and UXO make even the most basic elements elusive. Demining allows post-conflict communities to:
- Build schools: Without demining, children must walk an hour or more to school, if they can attend at all.
- Build roads: Farmers in rural villages are especially affected by the lack of roads. Isolated in their affected area, they are unable to sell cash crops.
- Build irrigation systems: Rural households are suffering physically and economically because water systems cannot be constructed.
- Create farmland: Families should be able to grow their own food and feed themselves, but many must simply go without because there is not enough clean, safe land.
The reality that a landmine could detonate at any time is only part of the problem – the mere presence of mines prevents distressed areas to have hope of thriving again. Demining creates opportunity, new life, good health, relief.
Beyond demining, MAG provides residents of post-conflict areas with safe access to water, shelter, food, and emergency aid. The work of demining opens up areas affected by conflict, giving their economies the opportunity to flourish with pathways to healthcare facilities, clean water, safe land, and links to neighboring villages, encouraging trade. Demining allows a psychological burden to be lifted and creates a freedom to live and act in order to prosper, not just live and act in a method of self-preservation.