Deminer training during 2001 by HELP in Tropoja, Northeast Albania. [Arben Braha, Albania Mine Action Executive]
In FY 2006 the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs contributed $1 million for humanitarian mine action in Albania through the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance (ITF). Of these funds, $371,741 went to DanChurchAid for demining and battle area clearance activities. The Albanian Mine Action Executive Quality Management Team received $22,707 for equipment. Of the ITF funds from PM/WRA, VMA–Kukes received $115,464 for two UXO/mine risk education projects in northeast Albania. PM/WRA funded demining along the Albanian-Serbian border in the districts of Tropoje, Has, and Kukes, resulting in the destruction of 887 mines and 1,196 pieces of ERW.
In FY 2007 PM/WRA contributed $244,516 for demining activities in Albania through the ITF. All of these funds went to DanChurchAid for demining and battle area clearance activities.
The United States also supports ongoing destruction of surplus and at-risk small arms and light weapons and munitions in Albania. In FY 2006 and FY 2007, PM/WRA provided $1.1 million to fund this life-saving work, which is destroying 25,000 surplus and obsolete weapons, and 15,000 tons of excess and aging ammunition.
Perry Baltimore, President and Executive Director of the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI), center, poses with deminers from ANAMA, with ANAMA mine-detecting dog handlers and mine-detecting dogs (MDDs). The MDDs were donated to ANAMA through an MLI initiative in a Public-Private Partnership with PM/WRA. Through its CHAMPS program and other fund-raising efforts, MLI has had remarkable success in raising awareness among the American public, schoolchildren, and corporations about the global landmine problem, and in raising funds to donate MDDs to several mine-affected countries. [Deborah Netland, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement]
Azerbaijan’s wide plains lend themselves to mechanical demining with heavy machinery as seen here. [ArmorGroup]
In FY 2007, PM/WRA provided $2,487,000 to support Azerbaijan mine action; $2.3 million of that support went to ANAMA for ongoing clearance operations, and $187,000 was provided to the IEPF to establish regional branches of the Azerbaijan Mine Victims Association in the Fizuli and Aghstafa districts.
In FY 2006 and FY 2007, the Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Research and Development Program continued an operational field evaluation of the Rhino Earth Tiller in partnership with ANAMA. This $1,750,000 remote-controlled mechanical system, used for large area anti-personnel mine clearance and area reduction, has two horizontally mounted, counter-rotating drums fitted with tungsten carbide chisels to excavate and grind soil and contaminants, including mines, to a depth of 30 centimeters. In FY 2007, the U.S. Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Training Center also provided $322,000 in “Train-the-Trainer” assistance to ANAMA.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
A screenshot of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Center’s Web site.
In FY 2006, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs contributed $3,300,000 through the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victim’s Assistance (ITF) to support mine action in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As a result of demining operations performed by commercial companies and nongovernmental organization, 1,498,455 square meters of land were cleared and an additional 4,259,757 square meters of land returned to safe use through technical survey operations. Four Community Integrated Mine Action Plans (CIMAP) were implemented, which released 1,115,403 square meters, and four CIMAP mine risk education projects concluded in 2006. PM/WRA support continued through the ITF for the program “Landmine Survivors Network in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” which provided economic assistance to 97 landmine survivors to facilitate the start-up of the businesses, and to assist in their education. PM/WRA assistance via the ITF also continued to support the Regional Mine Detection Dog Center in Konjic, which trained 22 mine-detecting dogs in FY 2006.
Also in FY 2006, PM/WRA contributed $69,214 to the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) for its CHAMPS Outreach in Bosnia program. MLI’S CHAMPS initiative raises awareness among U.S. schoolchildren about the global landmine problem and inspires them to raise funds to provide MDDs to safely sniff out landmines and ERW around the world. This particular PM/WRA – MLI Public-Private Partnership resulted in the provision of three MDDs to work in Bosnia, and the promise of on-going PM/WRA funding to help feed and care for them.
In FY 2007, PM/WRA contributed $3,000 through the ITF for further demining in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In FY 2006, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs granted $400,000 to a Bulgarian contractor, TEREM EAD, for the destruction of 76,000 tons of military small arms and light weapons that were excess to Bulgaria’s national security needs.
A screenshot of the Croatian Mine Action Centre’s Web site.
The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs granted a total of $2,300,000 for mine action activities in Croatia during FY 2006 through the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance (ITF). This enabled 11 demining operations and six technical surveys to be completed by various commercial companies and nongovernmental organizations. The program “Town of Karlovac Without Mines” was successfully implemented with donations from the Rotary Club Vienna Nord-Ost and PM/WRA matching funds. The technical survey project “Cherry Plantations Maraska” was completed with matching fund contributions from PM/WRA. The U.S. Embassy in Zagreb, the ITF, the Croatian Mine Victims Association, and Norwegian People’s Aid combined efforts and funds to assist the mine survivors project “The Winter Workshops for Psycho-Social Rehabilitation of Young Landmine and UXO Survivors.” This project, WATCH OUT—MINE, used both PM/WRA and ITF funds to produce a mine risk education (MRE) storybook, which was submitted by the Center for Neo-humanistic Studies from Karlovac, Croatia. The project created and distributed 10,000 of the MRE storybooks to disseminate MRE messages in elementary schools in different parts of Croatia.
In FY 2007, PM/WRA contributed $2,000,000 through the ITF for additional demining in Croatia.
Supporting law enforcement, deminers discovered 19 mortars, 32 hand grenades and various empty projectiles. [Estonian EOD Center]
In FY 2006, the U.S. Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Program contributed $55,000 to support humanitarian mine action in Estonia. To learn more about the program, visit www.humanitariandemining.org and www.wood.army.mil/hdtc.
In FY 2007, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs provided the Estonian Rescue Board with new explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) equipment worth $157,000 to assist in clearing underwater ERW. The Estonian EOD/demining specialists received three heavy bomb disposal suits, diving equipment, a motor boat, and remote-detonation devices.
Georgian deminers employed by HALO under a grant from the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) take a break from their demanding work during a rain storm. [Katherine Baker, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement]
Katherine Baker, a policy officer with PM/WRA, is briefed during a visit to a minefield around a holy spring in Georgia’s Abkhaz region. This minefield was being cleared by HALO through a grant from PM/WRA. [Katherine Baker, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement]
In FY 2007, PM/WRA provided $1,750,000 to HALO for further clearance in Abkhazia, finding their work progressing well. All HALO designated sites have been cleared and the program is focusing on more remote minefields, which are increasing in priority since with greater stability and security, tourists are now visiting the interior of Abkhazia where the remaining minefields are located. Agricultural activities are also expanding in Abkhazia and clearance in areas currently considered remote is essential prior to Abkhazia being declared impact free in 2009. There are only 17 more village administrations to be cleared; 101 of 118 (86 percent) of them have already been declared impact free.
|U.S. Ambassador George H. Walker III (left) and Minister of Defense Ferenc Juhász take questions from the media during the ceremony to mark the agreement between Hungary and the U.S. to destroy MANPADS. [U.S. Embassy–Budapest]|
Hungary’s Minister of Defense, Ferenc Juhász, and U.S. Ambassador George H. Walker formally signed the cooperation agreement on September 27, 2005, at a ceremony in Budapest, to destroy 1,540 of the Strela 2 (SA-7) variety of the MANPADS and related equipment in Hungary’s stockpile. Destruction, which was coordinated and funded by the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, was completed in February 2006.
Mine risk education pamphlet that was distributed in Kosovo. Translation: (top) Don’t ever touch mines or unknown objects! (bottom) Children, mines can kill you! [International Committee of the Red Cross]
Working through the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs contributed approximately $110,000 in FY 2006 towards humanitarian mine action efforts in Kosovo. These funds helped to purchase critical demining gear, such as mine detectors and personal protective equipment, for Kosovo Protection Corps’ demining teams.
The northwest and southern regions of Macedonia are the two main areas of the country affected by mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW). In 2001, conflict between government forces and ethnic-Albanian insurgents led to mine and ERW contamination at the northwestern borders with Kosovo and Albania in the regions of Tetovo, Kumanovo, and Skopje. In the south, the border with Greece spanning from Gevgelija to Ohrid is scattered with ERW left from World Wars I and II.
|Four large artillery shells that were abandoned but subsequently placed carefully in padded boxes in the back of a truck for transportation and safe destruction at a disposal site. Abandoned ordnance, not just landmines, also pose a hazard to innocent civilians in former conflict zones. [International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance]|
Some of the divers from the Regional Center for Underwater Demining (RCUD) during a training dive from a quay at the center. The RCUD in Bijela, Montenegro, a center for excellence, is the only such non-military humanitarian underwater node in the world. Its divers, and those that it trains, are able to safely recover and arrange for the proper destruction of munitions that have been dumped at sea, unexploded ordnance that remains hazardous even when underwater, sea mines, and landmines that in some cases may have washed up on beaches or been displaced into rivers, streams, and lakes by heavy rains. Some of the unexploded ordnance and munitions encountered by RCUD divers date back to World War II. [Regional Center for Underwater Demining]
Through the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs contributed $22,000 towards demining efforts in Montenegro. These funds were awarded in a single grant to the Regional Center for Underwater Demining to enable the refitting and equipping of a surplus patrol boat, donated by the former State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, to support divers conducting underwater clearance of unexploded ordnance in littoral waters.
In FY 2007, PM/WRA contributed $50,000 through the ITF for demining in Montenegro. PM/WRA also expended $2,476,000 to help Montenegro destroy its excess and obsolete small arms and light weapons (SA/LW), and munitions; 1,500 surplus man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS), 2,000 sea mines, 175 cluster munitions, and 90 torpedoes were destroyed during this effort.
The presence of persistent landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) in Serbia stem primarily from events during the 1990s. Some contamination is a result of conflict during the break up of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, and from air strikes by United States and other NATO air forces during the campaign to halt ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. Additionally, some mines and ERW that remained from previous wars affected parts of Serbia.
In FY 2006 the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs contributed approximately $815,000 to the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance (ITF) towards ERW clearance in Serbia. Additionally, $205,830 was awarded to the Serbia Mine Action Center (Serbia MAC) for three battle area clearance (BAC) projects on the mountain of Kopaonik. The Serbia MAC was also awarded one grant for $40,000 for the BAC project “Dusko Radovic” schoolyard, and a second grant for $350,000 for the “Samalia 1” BAC project. Norwegian People’s Aid received $219,102 for mine clearance activities on the Serbian side of the Croatian-Serbian border.
In FY 2007, PM/WRA contributed $700,000 through the ITF for additional demining in Serbia.
In addition to working with NATO to destroy its national stockpiles of excess and aging arms and munitions, Ukraine is also still clearing explosive remnants of war dating back to World War II left from the savage fighting between Soviet and Nazi forces. Here, a Ukrainian deminer 35 meters (over 114 feet) from the surface, carefully examines a section of underground ammunition storage depot complex on the Crimean peninsula. Several such depots, filled with tons of Soviet Army munitions, blew up in 1942, leaving behind significant quantities of unexploded ordnance that continue to pose a threat to inhabitants and to infrastructure within a three-kilometer (nearly two miles) radius. [Ukroboronservice]
This represents the largest Partnership Trust Fund project ever undertaken by NATO—and in fact is one of the largest weapons destruction projects in history—and responds to Ukraine’s request for help in eliminating 133,000 tons of munitions, and 1.5 million SA/LW. These stockpiles, most of which date from the Soviet era, are a threat to public safety and the environment, and a potential proliferation risk. The four-phase project will span 12 years and cost approximately $27 million in donor contributions. Ukraine will provide most of the operational and in-kind demilitarization costs. Phase 1 will destroy 15,000 tons of munitions, 400,000 SA/LW, and 1,000 MANPADS, and cost donors over $8.5 million.
In FY 2006 the United States contributed an additional $1.5 million to this long-term project, and an additional $1.8 million in FY 2007 for a total of $5,442,000 to date.
In 2006 with the assistance of the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, 1,000 MANPADS were destroyed. Additional SA/LW destruction began in 2007, resulting in the elimination of 108,000 weapons. The United States looks forward to continuing this project.