US Ambassador Harry K. Thomas visits NPA’s mine clearance programme in Zimbabwe
This week, NPA’s Humanitarian Disarmament Programme in Zimbabwe was honored to host the United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Harry K. Thomas, along with other delegates from the United States Embassy in Harare. The US is NPA’s main donor for demining in Zimbabwe, and the generous funding it provides enables land to be made safe, and returned to local communities for productive use.
The Deputy Director for the Zimbabwe Mine Action Center (ZIMAC), Lt Col. Peters, also joined the US delegation on the visit, which began with a presentation of the demining programme at NPA’s office. This was followed by a field visit to the Cecil kopje clearance task, where the delegation was given an operational briefing and tour of the task by NPA Site Supervisor, Mr. Clemence Homba.
Two NPA teams, out of a total of six teams in Zimbabwe, are currently deployed to the Cecil kopje task, and are conducting technical survey and clearance. The task itself is 562,115 square meters, and is part of the Leacon Hill to Sheba Forest minefield, which totals 8,231,200 square meters.
Since the start of survey and clearance operations in early January 2016, 72,000 square meters have been manually cleared, and 1399 anti-personnel mines recovered and destroyed. The total expected number of mines within Cecil Kopje is at 12,000, each posing a potential threat to lives and limbs. NPA hopes to complete clearance of this task is by the end of the year.
The visit from the US and Zimbabwe delegation, concluded with a bang, as the Ambassador Thomas activated the demolition of the landmines recovered by NPA deminers that same day. Each mine destroyed is one less explosive hazard for the men, women, and children of Zimbabwe.