The UK will invest new aid funding in technology to trace and clear land mines in Africa and Asia.
The technology to trace and clear land mines comes in a variety of forms, including radar detectors and remote-controlled bomb disposal robots, which will receive £46m in funding from the UK as part of its commitment to international development and humanitarian aid.
The support will be provided alongside collaboration with local authorities in communities in Asia and Africa which are facing the challenges of large volumes of unexploded ordnance and high numbers of landmine casualties each year. This support will target the following countries:
- Sri Lanka
- South Sudan
With the UK’s support, areas such as South Sudan’s Terekeka State could be entirely cleared of landmines by 2020, and remote villages in Angola will be provided with safe land on which to build and expand.
What kind of technologies will be used to trace and clear land mines in these areas?
Among the technologies receiving support is the Mine Wolf, a remote-controlled mine-clearing machine which is manufactured in Newcastle, UK, and which is sent into high risk areas to defuse land mines. The Mine Wolf weighs 8 tonnes and can clear up to 12,000m2 per day, meaning that it could deliver a significant impact to those areas beset by the challenges of unexploded ordnance.
The aid funding will also support the training of all-female teams of explosive ordnance disposal squads, particularly in areas where many of the men have been killed in conflict. This will help women from impoverished communities into employment, and provide skills training that will help them to protect their communities.
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt stressed the necessity of dealing with unexploded landmines across Asia and Africa: “The crippling legacy of fear, mutilation and devastation which landmines leave must be wiped out for good. UK expertise and innovation are helping to shield vulnerable people from these barbaric relics and liberating land contaminated by these devices. This will allow the poorest people to grow crops, walk their children to school without fear and ultimately give them back control over their lives.”