Landmine clearing is one of the most daunting and dangerous tasks facing the people of South Sudan today. While the exact number of mines and UXO (unexploded ordnance) spread throughout the South Sudanese landscape can only be guessed at, local experts estimate the total number of mines surrounding the town of Yei alone to be in the tens to hundreds of thousands.
Landmines and UXO restrict local populations in farming, livestock grazing, and other food gathering activities as well as commerce and daily activities. Perhaps even more significant, the psychological aspects of daily life in mine infested areas can be devastating. The threat of indiscriminate maiming and death hangs over the local populace’ heads like a Damocles sword.
The best programs for mine abatement approach mine removal as a slice of a larger pie. One of the best teams operating in Sudan is MAG (Mine Action Group) www.mag.org.uk. Much like an unconventional military advisor, MAG works effectively as a force multiplier, by training and supervising locals in mine clearance, as well as minefield marking, mine awareness and risk reduction programs, medical training, and other highly worthwhile endeavors.
MAG also proactively employs mine survivors and women as de-miners and EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) techs. In total, MAG employs over 1,500 people worldwide, with the vast majority of them being down-in-the-dirt deminers. This is work that takes a warm heart and ice-water in the veins. These people deserve our support both morally, spiritually, and financially.
Patrolling the bone-littered, heavily mined battleground surrounding Juba.
Mine infested border of Congo-Sudan