TWO MORE VILLAGES CLEARED THANKS TO THE SUPPORT OF THE UAE FOR ASSISTING AFGHANISTAN TO BECOME MINE FREE BY 2023
Above: Mohammad Azim Nawabi, Director of Kandahar Refugees Department,
durng signing the handover document
Demarcy and Salihan villages of Panjwayee district of Kandahar province are now cleared from all types of known mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) and were officially handed over to the communities and the Government of Afghanistan during a ceremony held on May 7, 2013. The ceremony, hosted by the MACCA Kandahar Regional Office, was well attended by the department of refugees and repatriation, department of urban development and department of economy of Kandahar province and also members of the communities involved.
Historical clashes have left these lands contaminated with anti-personnel and anti-tank mines as well as ERW, which has seriously slowed down economic and agricultural activities. From the start of the mine action program, mines and ERW have left many casualties in these villages. The demining operations began in January 2011, and made safe for productive use over 2,939,010 square meters of land, unearthing 130 different types of anti personnel and anti tank mines as well as ERW.
Clearance in these two villages was mainly carried out by DAFA and EMCPA, which are both implementing partners of the Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan (MAPA). The majority of the funding was provided by the United Arab Emirates and the area was totally cleared from the hazards with the allocated funds.
Abdul Samy, MACCA’s Kandahar Area Manager said “we are delighted and express our heartfelt gratitude, and praise for UAE supporting the people of Afghanistan and playing a critical humanitarian role in saving lives, bringing peace, and developing Afghanistan. The EMCPA project is making a remarkable contribution to the Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan. With the support of the UAE and as part of a project to clear over 100 villages in Kandahar province, this land spread across two villages of Demracy and Salihan is handed over as safe now where the threat of anti tank mines no longer exists and where the Government of Afghanistan can without fear of mines facilitate the construction of a town for thousands of families who will be returning to Afghanistan after taking over 30 years refuge into neighboring countries due to conflicts.”
Mr. Samy further added “We hope that UAE to continue the positive momentum generated by the EMCPA project and noble support to secure the transition to a truly “mine-free” Afghanistan.”
Mohammad Azim Nawabi, Director of Refugees Department, talking to a large gathering of these two villages’ elders at the ceremony, noted: “ This plot of land we talk about has been cleared by demining teams and after that the government of Afghanistan will give outland for the deserved people of Kandahar province for building houses and other essential installations.”
”During this important project thousands acres of land were cleared by EODT and DAFA, and the clearance operation was well coordinated by the MACCA Kandahar Regional Office. We have already distributed some forms for the local people to fill in, and based on that the Government of Afghanistan will hand over land for each of them to build their houses there.” Mohammad Rahim Rahimi, Economy Department Director of Kandahar province said.
At the end of the ceremony, community representatives, and representatives from the government, signed the official hand-over document to indicate their agreement that the area has been fully cleared. Now that hazards have been removed, the land will be used for more than 4000 residential houses for the returnees and other essential buildings such as a health clinic and school. The United Arab Emirates has supported MAPA since November 2011with $27.8 million of funding to date.