UAE project helps clear Afghan mines
Lenoir City, Tennessee, January 23, 2014
More than 11,000 explosive devices were located and destroyed in a UAE-based humanitarian project to end mine threats to civilians in Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province.
The two-year, $25 million Emirates Mine Clearance Project Afghanistan (EMCPA), a community-based effort funded by the UAE, was administered by the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS).
About $23 million of the fund went toward the Kandahar Province demining programme, while the remaining $2 million was allocated to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Mine Action.
Through the trust fund, the UAE will support the work conducted by the Mine Action Coordination Center of Afghanistan (MACCA), a project of UNMAS.
Kandahar's economy is primarily agriculture-based, but the land is also heavily mine-contaminated, with UNMAS estimating that nearly 26,000 residents live within 500 m of a minefield, said a statement.
The site work was carried out by Sterling Global Operations (SGO), an international stability operations firm. It employed more than 1,600 Afghans to make more than 38 million sq m of land available for productive use.
The project removed explosive threats affecting more than 100 Afghan communities.
Alan Weakley, SGO president and chief operating officer, said: "Our partnership with the UN and the Government of the UAE contributed to over 38 million sq m of land being returned to productive use by the citizens of Kandahar Province."
Under SGO's Community-Based Demining (CBD) programme, technical advisors worked within communities to select, train and supervise Afghans who completed a demining course that allowed them to meet international deminer standards.
More than 4,000 houses for formerly displaced persons, a health clinic and a school is set to be constructed in two Afghan villages, Demarcy and Salihan in the Panjwayw district, which have been demined. - TradeArabia News Service