HD R&D’s excavator works in a minefield laid along the bed of the Cancosa River in the mountains of Chile near the Bolivian border outside the town of Cancosa. The excavator was used to excavate and sift the entire mined site to a depth of 1 meter to recover anti-personnel landmines lost through erosion. The excavator is on loan to the Ministry of National Defense of Chile.
In cooperation with the Chilean National Demining Commission, the U.S. Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Research and Development Program (HD R&D) continued an operational evaluation of one Multi-Tooled Excavator and five Air-Spade® demining digging tools in FY 2008. The technologies represent a $300,000 investment to augment Chilean mine-clearance activities. To learn more about the U.S. Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Program, visit www.humanitariandemining.org
CIREC Medical Brigade visit with Su´cre department governor and victims. Prosthetic devices and wheelchairs were filled and dispensed to victims in Su´cre during the visit.
The Bureau of Political-Military Affairs’ Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) in the U.S. Department of State initiated a new partnership with the Colombian Campaign to Ban Landmines for mine-risk education in FY 2008 focusing on youth awareness in 13 municipalities of Antioquia. PM/WRA continued its support of two Emergency Response Teams (ERT) through the Organization of American States. A third ERT team is planned for FY 2009. PM/WRA continues to support Centro Integro de Rehabilitación de Colombia’s (CIREC) Seeds of Hope program, which provides prosthetics, physical therapy, psychosocial support, educational and employment opportunities, plus human-rights training.
Also in FY 2008, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Leahy War Victims Fund (LWVF) implemented a $3.8 million multi-year program to expand the scope and breadth of rehabilitation services available to survivors of landmines in Colombia. In partnership with the Colombian Campaign to Ban Landmines, the program will strengthen services in 22 departments, with special emphasis in six priority departments: Antioquia, Caqueta, Cauca, Meta, Nariño, and Norte de Santander. In addition, the LWVF supported the government of Colombia’s efforts to establish an internationally accredited school for prosthetic technicians. Working with CHF International and in partnership with a network of disabled people’s organizations and service providers, LWVF contributed $300,000 toward establishing a program to improve the socioeconomic situation and promote active participation of internally displaced people with disabilities and their families. To learn more about the Leahy War Victims Fund, visit www.usaid.gov/our_work/humanitarian_assistance/the_funds/lwvf
Moreover, in FY2008 the United States Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Training Center deployed two instructors to Bogotá in direct support of the U.S. Southern Command humanitarian mine clearance train-the-trainer program, training 44 Colombian military and civilian personnel, a value of $13,110. To learn more about the U.S. Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Program, visit www.humanitariandemining.org
The Tempest is a small, remote-controlled vegetation cutting system that has been in operation with the Ecuadorian Army since July 2007 and is being used in the dense Amazon jungle.
In FY2008, the United States Southern Command’s Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) program sponsored a Leaders Seminar, in cooperation with the Organization of American States’ Comprehensive Action Against Anti-personnel Mines program, or AICMA. The seminar capitalized on the improving Peru-Ecuador relationship to encourage additional cooperation on HMA themes. The seminar also capitalized on the participation of other regional partners, like Nicaragua, academia, and international organizations that have knowledge and experience in humanitarian demining to help countries identify strengths and weaknesses leading to better development of National Demining Plans and operations.
In FY 2008, the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Humanitarian Demining Training Center deployed two instructors, valued at $12,040, to Quito, Ecuador, in direct support of the U.S. Southern Command humanitarian mine-clearance train-the trainer program for 25 Ecuadorian military personnel.
In FY2008, the DoD’s Humanitarian Demining Research and Development Program (HD R&D) continued its evaluation of the $250,000 Tempest remote-controlled vegetation-clearance system in cooperation with the National Demining Center of Ecuador and the Organization of American States. The machine was originally on loan for one year, and was extended in June 2008 for a second year. The Tempest is assisting manual deminers by opening breach lanes in dense jungle. To learn more about the DoD’s HD R&D, visit www.humanitariandemining.org
is affected by landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) due to internal conflict from 1979–90. In FY2008, the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs’ Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State released two victim-assistance grants for Nicaragua. The first, for $140,000, was provided to the Organization of American States; the second was granted to The Polus Center for Social and Economic Development for $259,000. These grants assist victims in rehabilitation and are used to develop training and small-business opportunities for those affected by landmines.
Nicaragua has received the bulk of U.S. government Central America humanitarian mine-action funds (more than $30.5 million over the last 14 years) for operational support and victim assistance projects.
Francisco Mayorga lost a leg from a landmine that exploded when he was working as a deminer near Jinotega in 1996. He is shown working on a wheelchair frame at the Polus Center workshop in León, Nicaragua.
Freddy Duarte, who lost his leg to a landmine in 1987, runs a bicycle repair business at his home in León, Nicaragua, with the assistance of a micro-loan.
Peruvian deminers preparing for demining training at Bagua training site in northern Peru (conducted by HDTC and SOUTHCOM).
Mines were emplanted in the 1980s to protect high-tension electricity pylons against attacks from Sendero Luminoso (SL) and the Movimiento Revolucionario Túpac Amaru. During 1993–96, mines were also planted around three maximum security prisons to prevent prisoners from escaping, and around police anti-narcotics bases as a defensive measure. Parts of Peru’s shared border with Ecuador and the Condor Mountain Range in the sparsely populated Amazon basin are affected by landmines and explosive remnants of war, mainly unexploded ordnance as a result of armed conflict with Ecuador in 1995. More recently, remnants of the SL are resorting to homemade improvised explosive devices and booby traps in the drug-producing Valley of the Apurimac and Ene rivers and in the Upper Huallaga Valley.
U.S. support for humanitarian mine action (HMA) in Peru was $3.2 million through 2006. In FY2008, the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs’ Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) in the U.S. Department of State restarted the Peru HMA program after conducting a policy assessment visit in January 2008. PM/WRA contributed $200,000 for equipment and a preliminary contractor management review in 2008. The goal in 2009 and beyond is to concentrate on expanding the capability of the Peruvian Mine Action Coordination Center through contractor support.