Despite huge progress in demining made in recent years in Yemen, there is still a lot of work to be done if landmines are to no longer represent a risk to civilians’ health, safety and lives, the Undersecretary for Technical Affairs in Al Jawf Governorate has said.
Since 2015, Yemen’s Houthi militia have and are still routinely employing landmines directly against civilians – extensively and indiscriminately.
“During the past year, the Houthis planted thousands of mines in residential areas, populated areas, farms, public roads and secondary roads,” Dr. Saleh Ali Jamala, Undersecretary for Technical Affairs in Al Jawf Governorate told Project Masam.
“Many properties have been destroyed and the activities of many civilians, farmers, traders and travellers have been hampered, because their lives are in danger. Hundreds of children and women were victims of these landmines, which caused many disabling injuries in these areas.”
Crucial humanitarian clearance work
Since it first entered Yemen in mid-2018, Project Masam has located and destroyed 266,452 explosive devices, effectively clearing 25,168,541sqm of Yemeni liberated land. These include 4,004 anti-personnel mines, 85,511 anti-tank mines, 6,081 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and 170,856 unexploded ordnance (UXO).
Speaking of Project Masam’s contract renewal for a fourth consecutive year, the Undersecretary said the extension “is very important for the continuation of demining activities.”
Project Masam currently has 32 teams working in liberated areas across the country and conducts humanitarian clearance in accordance with priorities set by the Yemeni National Authority. It currently has teams deployed in Aden, Al-Jawf, Aldala’a, Al-Hudaydah, Marib, Shabwah and Taiz.
“Project Masam has made great efforts in the last year in clearing landmines, especially in liberated areas. But the Houthis are constantly and intensively planting [landmines in those] areas,” he claimed. “Efforts must be intensified in these areas, and work must be continuous.”