2015 To Walk the Earth in Safety: Angola

Bureau of Political-Military Affairs

Forty years of internal conflict left Angola with severe landmine contamination. Almost 20 years of humanitarian demining support from the United States and international community has helped clear up to half of all mine-contaminated areas in 11 of the country’s 18 provinces. However, as of April 2014, Angola estimated the extent of contamination at 601,600,920 square meters (232 square miles). Moreover, the 2007 Angola Landmine Impact Survey identified 1,968 localities and approximately 2.4 million people affected by landmine and UXO contamination. Reporting discrepancies between national demining programs and nongovernmental demining organizations have made it difficult to accurately estimate the total affected area in Angola, though the Angolan government is working to correct these discrepancies. Between 2000 and 2013, The Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor identified 2,928 landmine and UXO casualties, including 966 people killed, 1,814 injured, and 148 for whom the outcome was unknown. Total casualty estimates, however, range from 23,000 to 80,000.

Date: 2015 Description: In August 2014 in Angola, HALO and HD R&D prepare for a trial of the Mine Stalker, a low metal anti-tank mine detection system. Low metal content anti-tank mines are particularly difficult to clear with common methods. These mines threaten delivery of humanitarian services and stunt economic development throughout Africa.  © Photo courtesy of HD R&D.

From FY1995 through FY2014, the United States invested nearly $112 million in Angola. Projects focused on landmine and UXO removal and safe disposal; bettering the lives of landmine and UXO survivors; improving access to land and infrastructure; destroying unserviceable, excess, and unsecured SA/LW and munitions; and developing the host nation’s CWD capacity. In FY2014, the U.S. government contributed nearly $6.2 million for CWD in Angola.

The Department of State supported the work of the following implementing partners:

• HALO cleared high- and medium-impacted communities, surveyed and/or resurveyed suspected hazardous areas, conducted mine-risk education, performed UXO clearance, and safely destroyed SA/LW and munitions throughout Angola.

• MAG continued demining high- and medium-impacted communities, surveyed and/or resurveyed suspected hazardous areas, and provided mine-risk education in Moxico Province.

• Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) continued work in the Malanje, Uige, and Zaire Provinces to clear high- and medium-impacted communities, survey and/or resurvey suspected hazardous areas, conduct mine-risk education, and perform UXO clearance.

The Department of Defense HD R&D program, working in partnership with HALO, continued a trial of Mine Stalker, an armored tractor with state-of-the-art ground-penetrating radar panels and automatic target recognition algorithms to detect minimum-metal anti-vehicle mines on roads. The technology has proven its effectiveness in testing and HALO plans to further evaluate it in the field in Bie Province in 2015. HD R&D and HALO also completed a technology evaluation of the Rotary Mine Comb. The Rotary Mine Comb locates anti-vehicle mines that are otherwise undetectable. Since 2008, the Rotary Mine Comb has cleared 65 kilometers (40 miles) of road and removed 108 low-metal anti-vehicle mines that metal detectors cannot find. While the progress seems modest, the impact is substantial, considering that the alternative is complete hand excavation of the entire road.