Lebanon is one of nine countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East to receive mine clearance, mine risk education and capacity development from the Global Mine Action Program 2 (GMAP2) of the UK Department for International Development.
In Lebanon, the Mine Advisory Group (MAG) will deliver a £2m program with the support of Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) and the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), the British embassy said in a statement.
GMAP2 Lebanon will also provide support to the Lebanon Mine Action Center (LMAC) to help Lebanon better manage its own response to contaminated land.
Landmines continue to pose a daily threat to the people of Lebanon, blocking access to farm land which is essential to people’s livelihoods.
“Contamination across Lebanon is significant, especially in the South and certain border areas in the North East. The GMAP2 program will make a significant impact on remaining contamination, and provide mine risk education to local residents,” the statement said.
“New UK aid funded technology, including radar detectors, will help trace ammunition in a global area the size of more than 16,000 football pitches,” it added.
The statement said this demining work will protect more than 820,000 people from the threat of “barbaric relics across war-ravaged communities across the world.”
“UK support will also help educate a further 280,000 men, women and children about the dangers of landmines, an essential lifeline to safeguard entire communities from mutilation or death,” the embassy statement added.
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt meanwhile said: “The crippling legacy of fear, mutilation and devastation, which landmines leave, must be wiped out for good. UK expertise and innovation are helping to shield vulnerable people from these barbaric relics and liberating land contaminated by these devices. This will allow the poorest people to grow crops, walk their children to school without fear and ultimately give them back control over their lives.”
For his part, Chief Executive of the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) Jane Cocking said: “Global deaths and injuries from landmines have hit a ten-year high. Today, one person every hour is killed by a landmine and almost half are children. These new funds will help us to rid some of the world’s most conflict-affected countries of landmines, cluster munitions and other unexploded weapons at a crucial time, impacting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.”
“As well as saving lives, this support will ensure vast areas of land can be returned to communities, improving lives and ensuring safe access to housing, education and medical facilities,” Cocking added.
According to the British embassy in Beirut, this partnership with The HALO Trust, MAG, Norwegian People’s Aid and the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining is part of a UK commitment made at an event with Prince Harry in April 2017 of £100 million support to make 150 square kilometers of land safe again over a three-year period.
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