Showing posts from April 1, 2018

Britain vows to clear more land mines from conflict zones

LONDON, April 4 (Xinhua) -- Britain's Department for International Development (DfID) announced Wednesday it is to mark International Mine Awareness Day by clearing more potentially deadly mines. International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said Britain would help save an extra 50,000 vulnerable people from the threat of landmines worldwide. Mordaunt said more children are dying as a result of mines. She warned that in many countries children live in fear and risk their lives every day to go to school or play with friends because years of devastating wars have left land littered with lethal, hidden mines. DfID said 2016 saw more child casualties than ever before, and the highest number of total fatalities on record for more than 15 years. More than 8,600 people were injured and more than 2,000 people were killed during the year by landmines and other explosive devices left behind by conflict. British aid will help save the lives of 50,000 more people in South Sudan

The drone that sniffs out landmines

It was a video that sparked Harshwardhansinh Zala’s life-saving idea. The young Indian inventor saw a YouTube video where soldiers were trying to defuse a mine. The mine exploded suddenly, injuring several of them. Harshwardhansinh thought there had to be a way of locating and dealing with mines that didn’t put people in danger. His solution? A drone that could snoop for mines without setting them off, then drop a marker to allow mine clearers to detonate them safely. Filming:  Mayank Soni Additional editing:  Bernadette Young Source:

Syrian civilians face landmine menace after ISIL

Syria is facing an unprecedented landmine crisis caused by departing ISIL insurgents, campaigners warned in a report released on Wednesday. The explosives are killing and maiming hundreds of civilians, mostly children, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said, despite many areas having been liberated by security forces. Published on International Mine Awareness Day, the report said displaced people returning to the Deir Ezzor, Hassakeh and Raqqa regions of Syria face mortal danger. Numerous booby traps, landmines, ammunition and rockets have been rigged to explode in and around the homes of unsuspecting families. "Many are not aware that there are a lot of risks waiting for them," Imad Aoun, MSF's field communication adviser for Iraq and Syria, told  The National . The explosives are suspected to have been planted by the insurgents or armed groups as they retreated. "They are usually missiles that haven't exploded or booby traps set in place to harm peopl

2 million Ukrainians are affected by landmines in Ukraine’s eastern conflict regions

(Kyiv, 4 April 2018): On the occasion of the International Mine Action Awareness Day, the Government of Ukraine and representatives of international organizations call for the protection and safety of 2 million Ukrainian men, women and children in eastern Ukraine, who face constant insecurity due to contamination from landmines and explosive remnants of the armed conflict. Today, large stretches of populated areas within the Donetska and Luhanska oblasts in eastern Ukraine, particularly hundreds of settlements along the 457-km “contact line” are contaminated with mines and explosive ordnance due to the armed conflict. Because of the heavy presence of mines and unexploded ordnance, millions of people risk their lives every day to access markets, schools, hospitals and farmlands. Landmines have also significantly curtailed people’s ability to move freely across the five checkpoints, where one millions crossings occur each month. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Internati

With international help, Colombia is slowly clearing its landmines

Colombia has declared 225 municipalities free of landmines. Years of dangerous demining efforts still lie ahead to make sure all 673 affected municipalities are safe. President  Juan Manuel Santos  made the announcement during a visit to the Guainia province, which borders both Brazil and Venezuela in the east of the country. The government plans to rid the country of all mines by 2021. This is a daunting task, considering that almost two-thirds of the country’s municipalities have been flagged for the possible presence of landmines. Speaking in Guainia’s capital, Inirida, on International Mine Awareness Day, Santos stressed that Colombia had the second highest number of landmine victims after war-torn Afghanistan when he took office in 2010. But he said his government had turned things around and a peace agreement that saw the demobilization of the country’s largest guerrilla group, the  FARC , had reduced the number of casualties. “Today, we can say that instead of be

The ‘Endless War’ of Land Mines in the Balkans

As  Rocco Rorandelli  documented the Balkan journey of Syrian refugees from Greece to Germany, he discovered rural landscapes plagued by explosive reminders of a past war: land mines.  Off-limits forests ring Sarajevo. Minefields dot Bosnia’s Trebevic mountainsides. Large areas of Kosovo, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina remain plagued by mines and other live bombs two decades after the Balkan wars of the 1990s.  Mr. Rorandelli, a Rome-based photographer who specializes in global social and environmental issues, was struck by how the locals dealt with the deadly reality underfoot. “Even though the land was there,” he said, “it was as if it did not exist.”  Moved to expose the consequences of Bosnian war-era land mines, Mr. Rorandelli, a founder of Terra Project, an Italian photography collective, traveled through Croatia, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina. His project, “Mineland — The Endless War,” includes portraits of land mine survivors, aerial photographs of minefield

Here's why the Philippines may become ISIS' next caliphate

There are many indications that ISIS, or ISIS-inspired entities, are looking to renew their armed insurgency in the Philippines. As is typically the case, wherever ISIS goes, the US military is not too far behind.  Not many people will be aware that aside from the fact that peace-prize-laureate Barack Obama was bombing at least seven predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East at any given time during his presidency, he was also secretly  drone-bombing  the Philippines, as well. Obama's drone campaign, of course, was widely regarded as one of the  most effective recruitment tool  for groups like ISIS (incidentally, a group now growing from strength to strength in the Philippines). In fact, Operation Enduring Freedom Philippines, launched not long after the September 11 attacks rocked the United States in 2001 (and ending in 2014), is  considered  the largest US counterterrorism effort in the Pacific theater.   Syria withdrawal dilemma: Trump's Mideast strategy i