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UK announces new funding to clear mines in 8 countries

The UK Government on February 20 announced new funding to assist the British organisations the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and The HALO Trust (HALO) to help clear mines and educate communities about the associated risks in the countries of Angola, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Laos, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, and Zimbabwe.

Two British mine clearance organisations will receive a further £17 million in funding to clear unexploded ordnance in eight countries including Laos.

The United Kingdom government has allocated £17 million to support mine clearance efforts in eight countries in Africa and Asia, including Laos, aiming to protect over 50,000 individuals on about 17 million square metres of land.
An agreement was reached recently which saw the UK’s Mines Advisory Group (MAG), securing over US$1.65 million in funding for operations in Laos until March 2025.
Further funding through a Memorandum of Understanding with The HALO Trust is anticipated later in the year.
The funding will facilitate the clearance of explosives and implementation of educational programmes to increase awareness of mine risks within communities. Coupled with initiatives announced last year in Ukraine and Afghanistan, it is expected to benefit over 50,000 individuals across the programme areas.
MAG and The HALO Trust estimate that nearly 17 million square metres of land will be cleared of mines and other unexploded ordnance in the 10 targeted countries, thanks to UK funding.
This liberation of land will enable agricultural, residential, and social development, including the construction of schools, hospitals, and sanitation facilities.
Additionally, MAG and HALO will conduct over 34,000 in-person explosive ordnance risk education sessions, reaching more than half a million people and significantly improving community safety.
Minister of State for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell, reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to a mine-free world, stating “Landmines are a nightmare, causing thousands of deaths and injuries each year.”
“The UK remains committed to working towards a mine-free world and is delighted to award extra funding to MAG and The HALO Trust to continue their life-saving work.”
The newly announced funding will sustain ongoing efforts in heavily mined countries like Cambodia and Laos and support new programmes in countries such as Ethiopia.
It will also create opportunities for women in demining sectors, promoting employment and career development in countries like Angola, Cambodia and Laos.
The CEO of MAG, Darren Cormack, expressed gratitude for the UK government’s support, emphasising the importance of addressing the legacy of conflict and working towards a mine-free world.
Similarly, the CEO of The HALO Trust, James Cowan, highlighted the crucial role of donors, including the UK government, in achieving milestones in global mine clearance efforts.
With the sustained commitment of donors and organisations like MAG and The HALO Trust, the path towards a safer and mine-free world continues, ensuring the protection and prosperity of communities worldwide.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update March 1, 2024)

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