MAG in South Sudan

After decades of conflict, South Sudan remains heavily contaminated by landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO). These deadly items expose local communities, internally displaced people, returnees and refugees to the threat of death or injury, as well as hindering development.

A MAG MRE session in South Sudan

Learning through drama: children try to play football with one leg tied up, to demonstrate some of the difficulties they would experience if they lost a leg to a landmine.

Photo: Sean Sutton/MAG

The problems

Why MAG is in South Sudan

Across South Sudan, 4.6 million people face food insecurity, and 1.9 million people have been displaced by violence. Removing the threat posed by landmines and UXO is increasingly essential, to release safe land for farming, enable resettlement and to ensure that other humanitarian actors can safely assist vulnerable populations.

Whilst the ongoing conflict has added to the contamination threat in many parts of the country, Greater Equatoria has remained relatively calm. However, contamination from the previous civil war is especially high in this region, where more than half of the identified hazardous areas in the country are located.

Greater Equatoria is a main transit area for those fleeing the conflict or returning home. These groups are often more vulnerable than resident populations, as they have limited knowledge of the area they are moving through. It is also a major food producing region compared to the rest of South Sudan, but many people are afraid to use the land.

SOUTH SUDAN PHOTO GALLERY: CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW

How MAG is helping in South Sudan

MAG has been working in South Sudan since 2004. MAG deploys manual demining teams, often supported by specialised machines, to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of MAG operations.

In addition, MAG conducts Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Battle Area Clearance, specifically in areas where there have been cluster munition strikes, and technical and non-technical survey across the Equatorias.

MAG also deploys Community Liaison teams, who work directly with communities to gather information so that clearance operations are prioritised in areas where they are needed the most. These teams also conduct post-clearance assessments to discover how cleared land is being used. This enables us to understand and improve the long-term impact of our work and how it benefits local people.

MAG supports an integrated approach to humanitarian aid and development, ensuring our activities remain complementary to those of other humanitarian actors. We achieve this by actively participating in the  Protection and  Food Security Clusters and co-chairing the Mine Action Sub-Cluster with the United Nations Mine Action Service.

MAG’s work benefits both displaced people fleeing violence as well as established communities in contaminated areas.

By removing and destroying landmines and other items of UXO, people can live free from fear and increase their economic opportunities, using safe land for farming or infrastructure projects. Clearance also facilitates access to vital resources such as clean water.

MAG deminer in South Sudan

Deminer Santino is part of the team clearing a bridge-head in Eastern Equatoria of landmines. The lack of a vehicle crossing means villages on the other side are cut off from support from aid agencies. 

Photo: Sean Sutton/MAG