The International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action
Today the world is celebrating the International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
In 1998, 111 countries all over the world made a commitment to clear their lands of Explosive remnants of war to protect their civilians from death and injury and allow farmers to regain their land.
Yemen has a particular cause to be proud of today. In 1999 the Government of Yemen established one of the most successful mines action programs in the world. Through the establishment of the National Mine Action Committee and the development of its technical arm Yeman Mine Action Centre many lives in Yemen have been saved, much misery alleviated and livelihoods restored. With support of UNDP, YEMAC has provided: Mines survey, Mines Clearance, Mines Risk in additional to assistance to victims of mines
Yemen has a highly experienced and successful National Mines Action institutional and implementation system and to continue to meet evolving global standards and maintain Yemen’s reputation as a world leader in Mines Action. Yemen was the first nation in the region to ratify the Mine Ban Treaty on 01 September 1999.
Since its establishment in 1999 NMAC, through its implementation body YEMAC, had progressed successfully towards its original objective: ‘ to clear the 923km2 of ERW and land release of approximately 787km2 (85.3%) suspect hazardous areas within 12 years in 18 contaminated governorates as follows: Abyan, Aden, Al Baidha, Al Hodaidah, Al Jawf, Al Mahra, Amran, Dhamar, Hadhramaut, Hajjah, Ibb, Lahej, Mareb, Sa’dah, Sana’a, Shabwah and Taiz
In addition to Mines Action and mines clearance YEMAC is also providing mines risk education in close collaboration of UNDP and UNICEF. 1,653,438 has benefited from the mines risk education program.
2,059 victims received assistance and medical support in 935 local communities including provision of medical equipment such as wheeling chairs, hearing aids, shoes, belts, artificial limbs and crutches.
The total devices destroyed up February is 289,957 from which Anti personnel: 89,352; Anti vehicles: 774; UXOs: 196,321 and Booby traps: 3,510
It is worth mentioning that Yemen supported Arab and African countries in providing them a technical training in the field of mines action such as Sudan, Iraq, Mauritania, Somalia and Mozambique.
Recent challenges in the north and south of the country have increased the demand for mines action. Since June 2012 tragically between July 2011 to March 2013, 71 children were casualties of mines and explosive devices in areas where YEMAC has not reached. Also 8 YEMAC staff have been killed and 20 wounded as they work to safe gaurd others.
Unless areas are made safe from the explosive remnants of war people cannot be safe, aid agencies cannot effectively support them and livelihoods cannot be restored.
Today is a day to praise our brave de-mining teams and for all the people of YEMEN to re-commit their support for this critical work.