Burma Valley cleared of landmines
Hundreds of people joined in on the celebrations when deminers from Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) had removed all landmines in Burma Valley, Zimbabwe. The residents can now safely let their livestock grass and plant fruits and vegetables.
NPA started the demining in Burma Valley in May 2013. The deminers have in the past two years recovered and destroyed 120 landmines.
The task was completed with support from Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the US Department of State. In July the areas where officially handed back to local authorities and residents.
“We’re delighted to have handed this area back to the people of Burma Valley knowing that it is free of mines. They can now start harvesting again, they’re animals can grass, and last but not least – they can feel safe that their children will not step on a mine,” said Trygve Augestad, head of NPA’s programmes in southern Africa.
The landmines in Zimbabwe were laid by Ian Smith’s regime during the 1970’s to put a stop to the freedom fighters. There have been over 1,500 reported landmine casualties in Zimbabwe, according to The Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor report (2011).
NPA continues demining activities in other parts of Zimbabwe. The organisation was the first humanitarian group to clear mines in Zimbabwe and is today one out of only two.