HERAT, Afghanistan – “HALO works with countries emerging from conflict, securing weapons and disposing of unexploded ammunition. It paves the way for infrastructure to enable economic development and it underpins international stability and security. By hiring men and women from the mine-impacted communities, HALO’s approach directly lifts our staff’s extended families and communities out of poverty while contributing to peace-building and sustainable futures.”
HALO works in 15 war-torn countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America. It is on a mission to make the world landmine free by 2025. Just recently it declared the Herat province in Afghanistan to be mine free.
While other agencies supply food, water, and other necessities of life in refugee camps until refugees are able to return to their homes, HALO’s task is to make sure that their homes – and the way back – are safe for their return.
Afghanistan has been conflict-ridden since 1979. Warring factions have laid thousands of mines and stored large volumes of unused munitions, much of which has been left behind. In Afghanistan alone, nearly 6.2 million families have been displaced from their homes during the fighting. It is estimated that close to 5.8 million have now been able to return to their homes safely.
The problem is not just on the roadways and in the cities. Explosive devices and munitions litter the countryside. Agrarian families cannot work their fields until they are certain that those fields, too, are safe. The problem is especially egregious in Afghanistan where it is estimated that as many as 640,000 landmines have been placed. More than 23,000 innocent citizens have been died or been maimed by landmines in the country between 1979 and 2015.
Between 1988 and 2015 HALO staffers destroyed nearly 235,000 emplaced and over 550,000 stockpiled mines in addition to more than 10 million rounds of large-caliber ammunition and more than 49 million unused bullets. Teams have deactivated and destroyed more than 52,000 light weapons and 2,800 armored vehicle and artillery pieces. They have been destroying an average of 70 tons of explosives and munitions per month.
HALO continues its work Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Sri Lanka in South Asia. In addition to ongoing cleanup in Syria and the West Bank in the Middle East, it is active in Angola, the Ivory Coast, Somalia, and Zimbabwe in Africa and Georgia, Kosovo, and Ukraine.
The HALO Trust is based in Great Britain.
- Sight Magazine, Afghan province declared landmine-free after 10-year clearance drive
- The HALO Trust, In Afghanistan, clearing landmines to save lives