25 June 2018, Riyadh – The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief) today launches the Saudi Project for Landmine Clearance (MASAM), a program committed to making Yemen landmine-free in order to protect civilians and to safeguard the delivery of urgent humanitarian supplies.
Landmines are a major impediment to social and economic development efforts, exposing citizens to potentially fatal risk for generations to come. There have been more than 600,000 mines planted in the liberated areas by militias; 130 thousand internationally banned sea mines, 40,000 mines in Marib and 16,000 mines in the island of Mayon.
The ongoing conflict has resulted in the manufacture and deployment of landmines by militias causing over 1,539 recorded deaths, injury for over 3,000 and permanent disability to over 900 Yemenis, a majority of whom are women, children and the elderly. Unfortunately, these recorded figures are far less than the actual numbers as the national demining program has not been able to identify and register them. Such hostile action has also resulted in a wide array of other life-threatening crises and security concerns.
At a KSrelief-funded prosthetics center in Marib, Yemen, 305 prosthetic limbs were fitted last year to more than 195 landmine victims. The most affected groups were Yemeni women and children; to date, the center has provided treatment to patients between the ages of 12 and 72.
This KSrelief-funded project is being launched following the Yemeni Government’s signing of an Agreement for Clearance of Landmines and Explosive Remnants of War with Dynashield, in solidarity with Dynasafe, a UK company. Clearance will be delivered over five phases:
· Phase one: Consultation, surveying and coordination with local authorities.
· Phase two: Deployment and the initial execution on safe clearing of landmines.
· Phase three: Comprehensive clearing operations for landmine removals across at least six governorates of Yemen, including Sanaa, Marib, Aden and Taiz.
· Phase four: Implementation of rapid-intervention teams to clear critical aid delivery infrastructure and emergency response situations.
· Phase five: Comprehensive operations management and ongoing delivery of phases three and four.
Commenting on the launch of the plan, Dr Abdullah Al Rabeeah, Supervisor General of KSrelief, said: “The use of landmines against the innocent people of Yemen has been a despicable blight on the lives of civilians and aid workers across the country. KSrelief and our partners at Dynashield, with the support of the Yemeni government, are committed to the safe and comprehensive removal of these devastating devices. Critically, this project will also clear aid delivery routes to ensure an unimpeded flow of humanitarian supplies. Our promise is a life without landmines for the people of Yemen.”