Remnant of conflict: a deadly M42 cluster submunition.
Hassan Hashem and his brother had been waiting to use their farming land for more than 20 years, until MAG cleared it of cluster bombs and unexploded ordnance.
Al Khiyam village rests on the steep slopes of southern Lebanon, a largely rural area, and is home to 35,000 people. During the war of July 2006, the town was targeted and contaminated with cluster bombs, which still threaten the lives of citizens.
“Today, the dream has become reality. Our land that we were deprived of
because of cluster bombs has been returned to us."
[Photo: MAG Lebanon]
Many of the landowners and villagers rely on their land to supplement their income and to provide for their families.
Hassan Hashem, a 52-year-old resident of the Al Khiyam, explains the relationship with the land, which he shares with his brothers.
“After the liberation in 2000, we didn’t have the financial resources to invest in land.
"And when conditions improved we were surprised by the 2006 war, which stole our dream to get back to our land that we had been waiting more than 20 years for.”
The brothers own more than 9,000m² of land in the village, but they were not able to put it to use because of the presence of cluster bombs. "We didn’t even allow our children to go out and play in the ground," says Hassan.
In October 2010, MAG’s Battle Area Clearance Team began work on the Cluster Bomb Unit (CBU) strike location that included the Hashem family’s land.
|Al Khiyam village, close to the city of Nabatieh, in south Lebanon.
Over a period of nine months, the team found and destroyed four M42 cluster submunitions and 16 other different types of unexploded ordnance.
"MAG's presence on our land has brought us hope, and we've started believing that the future will be better," Hassan told a MAG Community Liaison team.
Now, eights months after operations were completed, Hassan’s family can finally benefit from their land, where they plan to build a house.
“Today, the dream has become reality. Our land that we were deprived of because of cluster bombs has been returned to us, because of MAG workers’ efforts. We thank them and pray to God to always protect and help them."
Hassan's land was cleared thanks to funding from: Australian Aid; UK Department for International Development (DFID / UKaid); US Department of State's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement.
19 April 2012