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Mine clearance operation in Chile and Peru complete

“We are proud to be able to draw the line for a successful mine clearance mission,” said Head of the Mine and Arms Department of the Norwegian People's Aid, Steinar Essen.

The accomplishment was marked on Thursday December 20 and included a "walking ceremony", over the area that is now cleared and free of mines. Among those attending were Ambassador Claudio de La Puente from Peru and Ambassador Alfonso Silva of Chile. Representatives from the Norwegian Embassy in Chile, which has played an important role in establishing cooperation between Chile, Peru and Norwegian People's Aid (NPA), also participated.

In the summer of 2012 NPA was invited by the governments of Chile and Peru to assess possible demining of the border area between the two countries, close to the ravine Quebrada de Escritos. A major flood in February 2012 moved landmines and created a dangerous situation for the civilians.

“NPA assessed the situation in August, and in September governments of Chile and Peru and NPA signed a memorandum stating that NPA was to clear the area. We have now succeeded,” says Essen.

28 experienced deminers from NPA’s Mine Action programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina left Sarajevo on October 11 this year, along with the necessary equipment and mine detection dogs. Since then they've cleared landmines from an area of over 67,670 m2. They can now return home for Christmas satisfied with completion of their mission.

“NPA has exceeded our expectations and we are very impressed with how much you managed to achieve in such a short time. Collaboration with NPA and with our Peruvian partners has been a very enjoyable and educational experience,” said Ambassador Alfonso Silva of Chile.

“NPA has a very professional and disciplined team, who made it possible for them to complete this job. We are very proud to have taken the decision to collaborate with NPA for this project, and we believe that we can continue to learn a lot from you,” said Ambassador Claudio de La Puente.

“I am very proud to have been part of this unique project. Thanks to the excellent cooperation and support of Chile and Peru, we have managed to complete our operational success,” said NPA’s Programme Manager, Goran Persic.

17.01.2013 | Victoria Uwonkunda