Zimbabwe’s mine contamination is a result the war of liberation in the 1970s and continues to affect border communities that depend on subsistence farming and grazing. More than 120,000 cattle have been killed or injured by landmines.
Mines also affect cross border trade with Mozambique. They prevent families from meeting across the border and put children at risk as they go to school. Mines and exploded ordnance continue to cause accidents. The total number of casualties is unknown but estimated to be at least 1,600.
As of the beginning of 2022, there is a total of 23.5 km2 of remaining mined areas left for clearance in Zimbabwe. As a state party to the Mine Ban Treaty, Zimbabwe’s revised clearance deadline under Article 5 clearance is the end of 2025. Due to the economic downturn in the country, Zimbabwe needs increased international funding to meet this deadline.
The National Mine Action Authority of Zimbabwe (NAMAAZ) is a policy and regulatory body on all issues relating to Mine Action in Zimbabwe. The Mine Action programme is managed by the Zimbabwe Mine Action Center (ZIMAC) and implemented in accordance with the national strategy 2018 – 2025. NPA is one of four international NGOs operating in Zimbabwe.
NPA has been conducting mine action in Zimbabwe since 2012. As of the end of 2021, we have released 15km2 of land, through survey and clearance, resulting in the destruction of 27,886 antipersonnel mines. This has benefitted 59,864 direct and 399,901 indirect beneficiaries.
NPA’s survey activities have greatly improved the estimate of remaining mine contamination, enabling the more efficient use of resources. In Zimbabwe, NPA has predominantly been using manual clearance teams, but in 2018 a mine detection dog team was introduced, increasing productivity by approximately 25%.
An example of how NPA’s activities contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals is the clearance of the Burma Valley minefield which was completed in 2015, with the release of 0.5 km2 of land, benefitting 253 families. This has resulted in poverty reduction, improved food security, and access to health and education services.
Following clearance, three hectares of cleared land was distributed to each household of small scale communal farmers by the Ministry of Land, and they are also supported with government financial assistance for their agricultural activities. The District Development Fund has repaired a link road to Mozambique on cleared land.
Mozambican school children are now safely using paths through the cleared land to cross the border to attend Valhalla Primary and Mazonwe Secondary schools. Mozambican women are now able to safely access maternal and child health services at Mazonwe Clinic.
A large dam that passes across the cleared land from Zimbabwe into Mozambique has meant that the Brown Hill and Nahoon Hill communities no longer rely on rain-fed agriculture. A community well that was in a minefield can now be safely used.
NPA also conducts explosive ordnance risk education in its areas of operations, targeting those most at risk. These are children, and also men engaged in agricultural activities.