How To Prevent Landmine Death And Injury
See how MAG is helping the communities in Myanmar that are living with the threat of landmines each day.
Through mine risk education (MRE), MAG is helping to prevent death and injury from landmines and other explosive devices. An MRE session may include, for example: how to recognise landmines; how to report a dangerous item; what to do in an emergency; known areas of contamination and accidents; warning clues and signs for mined areas; and how to keep others safe.
See this work in action below...
All photos: Sean Sutton/MAG
MAG is working in 17 landmine-affected communities in Kayah state, eastern Myanmar, an area riddled with mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) from decades of internal conflict. In the photo above, MAG's community liaison officer Mary Su Su gives mine risk education to children at a school in the village of Daw Hsaw Phya. The headmaster, U Soe Win Naing, was very happy to see the MAG team: "We are very grateful for MAG’s work here. They have come and given us lessons to help us to be safe. There was a lot of conflict here before and this work is very important, especially for the children."
Getting children to (a) understand the risks and, (b) act in a safe manner, is always a challenge, and lessons built around games, role-play and drama have proved to be very effective.
Children race to place pictures in baskets marked ‘Safe’ or “Danger’. The images are a mix of landmines/UXO and safe items such as clocks and fruit.
Mine risk education includes spreading safety messages in ways other than formal MRE sessions; above are MAG posters on display near a shop in Dan Nyay Khu village.
The MAG teams commonly provide risk education sessions in the evening, to make sure that men – who are statistically most at risk – are back from the fields and able to attend. Here, MAG community liaison officers Mary Su Su and Flora Ju provide valuable lessons to villagers in Dan Nyay Khu.
Many of the women from the Padaung ethnic group – pictured above at an MRE session in Pan Pat village – have followed their traditional culture of wearing neck rings. Girls first start to wear brass neck coils at the age of five and over the years the coil is replaced by a longer one. The neck itself is not lengthened, the weight of the brass pushes the collarbone down and compresses the rib cage.
These schoolchildren from Lawpita village are at risk from the landmines that surround nearby electricity pylons. "We live close to places where there are landmines so these lessons are very valuable for us," said head teacher Daw May Than Kyi. "Thanks so much to MAG for this work."
The pylons that are surrounded by landmines can be seen in the background.
• Thanks to our partners. MAG's work in Kayah state is carried out with funding from Irish Aid and the US State Department's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement.
"For an idea of the extent of Myanmar’s landmine problem, consider the following: More than five million people are suspected of living in areas contaminated by landmines..." Read more
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Page published: 30 January 2015