His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex has announced he will visit the place in Angola where Princess Diana first drew worldwide attention to the global landmine problem. As part of his African tour, he will visit the city of Huambo where Diana walked through a minefield and detonated a landmine. There he will meet national members of staff from organizations removing landmines in the country, including MAG.
“Not only will this visit serve as an opportunity for the Duke and Duchess to highlight many of the causes they have been involved with for many years, it will demonstrate a modern UK-Africa partnership in action,” the statement said.
“In a particularly significant and poignant journey, the Duke of Sussex will have the opportunity to return to Angola to see firsthand the legacy of his mother the late Diana, Princess of Wales, whose visit to Huambo in 1997 helped raise awareness of the threat posed by landmines to communities and livelihoods.”
Forty years of conflict from 1961 to 2002 left Angola strewn with an estimated one million landmines and many more unexploded bombs.
Today, over 88,000 Angolans are living with disabilities due to landmine injuries and hundreds of thousands more are stuck in landmine-related poverty, unable to use their land. The majority of victims reported over the last five years have been children, most of whom were not even alive during the conflict.
MAG has been working in Angola for 25 years. In the last decade alone, and with the support of the Angolan government, MAG has cleared more than 2,500 acres of minefields for communities.
Great progress has been made, with 70 percent of the country's hazardous areas now declared safe, but there is much work that remains in the 1,200 known minefields left to be cleared. Angola has seen funding for landmine clearance slump by nearly 90 percent in the last decade, despite a global commitment to rid the world of landmines by 2025.
This makes the Duke's visit extremely welcome at a time when international support for the landmine clearance in Angola is crucial.
Together, we can rid some of the world’s most affected countries of landmines.