Red Cross donates demining equipment to Zimbabwe


The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has donated de-mining equipment, including detectors and protective equipment, to the Zimbabwe Mine Action centre in an effort to double the country’s capacity to clear landmines in the southeast of the country.

The ICRC on 20 April said the equipment would be used to search for, clear and destroy anti-personnel mines at the Crooks Corner to Sango Border Post minefield in southeastern Zimbabwe.

The equipment was received by the Zimbabwe’s Minister of Defence, Dr Sydney Sekeramayi. Thomas Merkelbach, Head of Regional Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said at the handover that deminers would be receiving 60 sets of protective equipment and 30 detectors to enable a full team of trained personnel to begin work immediately.
“Thousands of Zimbabwean families living in proximity to minefields across the country risk their lives daily to find water, food and other essential goods they need to survive. This dangerous legacy of a conflict that ended decades ago must not be permitted to continue to destroy the future of livelihoods and communities,” said ICRC weapons expert John Sorbo.
“The donation of this demining and protective equipment will enable the Zimbabwean authorities to meet their objective of doubling the pace at which anti-personnel mines are being removed by their deminers,” he said.
“Significant progress has been made by the Government of Zimbabwe and international partners in increasing the pace at which demining is being carried out across the country. However the scale of the landmine problem in Zimbabwe simply requires more investment and support by all parties to ensure that individual landmine survivors and communities can lead productive lives free of anti-personnel mines by 2025,” said Merkelbach.

The ICRC has been working with ZIMAC since 2012 to improve existing skills, capacity and equipment available to the Government of Zimbabwe to meet its international obligations to search for, clear and destroy anti-personnel mines. Since 2012, the ICRC has donated 80 sets of anti-personnel mine detection and 110 sets of deminers’ protective equipment, 9’000 children’s exercise books giving guidance on how to avoid landmines in communities affected by landmines and trained 130 Zimbabwean personnel on a range of issues including current international humanitarian mine action standards, mine risk education and quality assurance in humanitarian mine action. States that are party to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention have agreed to aim for universal acceptance and implementation of its obligations to search for, clear and destroy landmines by 2025 worldwide.