MAG entered Kosovo almost immediately after the cessation of hostilities in June 1999, with a Mine Action Team from Cambodia deployed as an emergency response to the threat that landmines, cluster bombs and booby traps posed to the Kosovan population.
From a headquarters in Pristina, we recruited, trained and deployed three multi-skilled Mine Action Teams over the summer of 1999. The teams were based in the towns of Prizren, Podujevo and Mitrovica.
They undertook various tasks, such as responding to emergency requests, house and school searches, clearance of Serbian Army minefields, marking of cluster bomb sites, and battle area clearance, particularly around the power lines.
Alongside the clearance activities, we developed a 'Child-to-Child' mine awareness project, where children are taught to become mine awareness teachers for their peers. The project proved extremely successful and was integrated into the school curriculum.
During the winter of 1999, MAG was requested to take over tasks suspended by other agencies due to their temporary withdrawal from Kosovo. Many of these tasks involved checking minefield fences and signs before the snow began to cover markings.
We conducted mine awareness presentations in Pristina, as many children staying in the city over winter would be returning to villages where there remained a significant threat from mines and unexploded ordnance.
In addition to this, we established an Information Centre for Mitrovica, where information on suspect areas was provided to organisations and communities.