Issue 4.2 | June 2000
Mine Action teams concentrate on tackling urgent tasks, such as providing safe access to water, paths and land for housing, farming and the development of social services. Where applicable, these teams will also survey and mark wider areas of dangerous ground for clearance. The community liaison staff undertakes information gathering and community awareness work; a medic and driver support them. MAG is creating, through its mine action teams, greater flexibility, more multi-skilling and more responsiveness to the broad impact of landmines. MAG will also propose other clearance aids, in particular, vegetation and brush cutters, mini-flail machines and dogs, in order to better serve the people and their communities. MAG also deploys where appropriate its emergency reaction team, and a rapid assessment team that has seen recent work in the West Bank and in southern Sudan. MAG has established an evaluation process in order to incorporate lessons learned to better serve landmine-affected people and their community. Recent strategic plans include new development partnerships and an increased emphasis on training in the field.
MAG entered Kosovo in June 1999, initially deploying a khmer Mine Action team while training some 60 Kosovans in mine action tasks. MAG is UNMACC's lead agency in the Mitrovica region. In 2000, MAG is fielding three teams and the 'Minecat' 230 mini-flail. MAG plans to add further appropriate mechanical assistance. In addition to its own mine awareness programs, MAG is conducting a Child to Child awareness program funded by UNICEF.
MAG started work in Xieng Khouang Province in 1994. Since 1996, MAG has been working with UXO LAO, the national coordinating body for all UXO clearance activities. MAG has over 200 male and female nationals trained and deployed. Along with direct public education work, its community awareness programs have the integral role in the identification and tasking of clearance teams. In 1998, MAG started work in Saravae Province, southern LAO PDR. Most of the work involves UXO contamination resulting from the bombardment of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. In 2000, MAG is handing over control of the majority of its national staff to UXO LAO.
In partnership with OSIL and several development NGOs, MAG undertook a six-week capacity building initiative in 1998, and is planning a follow-up in 2000, with further capacitiy building and training in management, technical and data gathering/mine awareness disciplines. MAG hopes to eventually provide a training unit consisting of managerial, technical and mine awareness advisors along with equipment for mine clearance.
MAG's project is fielding one demining team of 25 civilian deminers. The initial project site is 120 hectares around a heavily mine and ordnance-contaminated former fire-base in Qio Linh District, Quang Tri Province. Phase 2 of the project later in 2000 will see the introduction of the mechanical means to assist with the clearance.
MAG is to conduct a short assessment and clearance operation in a mined area near Bethlehem.
A MAG "Training and Supervisory Team" is conducting an eight month training program with UNOPS, for the local demining capacity, Relief Azerbaijan. Forty-five deminers are being trained to tackle the mine and UXO problem, initially in the Fizuli region.
In April 2000, the British Ministry of Defense donated 11 vehicles to MAG for use in its mine action projects.
MAG is also considering other requests for assistance in Africa and the Middle East, in South Asia and in South America.