From conflict to economic opportunity
Colombia is the second most dangerous country for landmines in the world. There are serious risks of death and injury for civilians, and land has been rendered impassable and unusable. Through the Landmine Action in Colombia project, the Canadian-funded HALO Trust has helped communities conduct landmine surveys and clearance.
Argelia, Antioquia is a conflict-affected area where 90% of the town’s population has been forced to flee. Local resident Blanca Giraldo says that the presence of landmines was putting them at risk both physically and economically.
“We had to stop growing coffee. We were left with few economic possibilities. Where there used to be coffee, cocoa and corn, the armed groups planted illicit coca crops and landmines.”
Through the work of the HALO Trust, Blanca was able to return to her farm and begin working once again.
“I am very grateful for the deminers and all the people and support. After HALO cleared the mines from my farm, I finally regained control over my life. Being able to walk without fear of stepping on a mine and growing coffee again has tremendously improved my life.”
The project has cleared more than 97,000 square metres of hazardous land. In addition, 122 anti personnel mines were destroyed in Argelia alone. HALO anticipates that it will be able to declare the entire municipality as “landmine free” by early 2023.
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