MAG in Myanmar

Each day, communities in Myanmar live with the threat of landmines, which kill, maim, prevent people from using their land, and hamper development.

Schoolchildren at a risk education session in Myanmar

Schoolchildren at a risk education session in Kayah State.

Photo: Sean Sutton/MAG

The problems

Why MAG is in Myanmar

Decades of ongoing conflict have left people in many parts of Myanmar living in fear due to the landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) that litter the land. These people have a right to hope for a better future, free from fear.

Land throughout Myanmar is heavily contaminated by mines and UXO, with the eastern borders of Kayah, Kayin, Shan and Kachin states, and the central region of Bago, believed to be the most affected areas.

The dangers posed by these items mean that resident communities, as well as former refugees who have recently returned, are forced to live in fear. Contaminated areas also make it impossible for farmers to harvest their crops or get their produce to market; for children to walk to school; or for parents to provide food, water

Within Kayah State the contamination has impeded the return of internally displaced people and refugees, and poses a significant threat to resident populations along the Kayah/Kayin and Thailand borders. Even higher levels of contamination can be found in Bago, where landmines and UXO also have a huge impact on resident communities, internally displaced people and refugees.

RISK EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN IN MYANMAR

How MAG is helping in Myanmar

MAG provides life-saving mine risk education, which aims to prevent death and injury from landmines and UXO by raising awareness of the problems and by promoting safe behaviour. A child's ability to correctly identify a landmine or other explosive weapon could save his or her life.

These safety sessions 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; how to keep others safe, and more.

MAG also trains local organisations to deliver risk education in landmine-contaminated communities. Approved by the Government, these activities are particularly vital as mine/UXO clearance isn’t currently permitted. 

Mine risk education is not the answer to landmine contamination – it can only reduce risk, not eliminate it. However, we know from experience that it has a significant impact on affected populations and increases the safety of communities. MAG’s long-term goal in Myanmar is to begin the essential removal of landmines and UXO.

But by raising awareness of the threat and working directly with communities to change their behaviour, MAG is reducing the risk of death or injury for people living in Myanmar.

Risk education with a community in Kayah State

Risk education with a community in Kayah State.

Photo: Sean Sutton/MAG