Across the world, millions of people face an unprecedented threat from the global coronavirus pandemic. 

The communities that also face the daily threat of landmines and unexploded bombs will be among the worst affected. 

While MAG teams continue to work where it is safe to do so, the health and wellbeing of our staff and the communities in which we work are of paramount importance now more than ever.

We have paused several of our programmes and will be working at reduced capacity and under tighter restrictions where we are able. 

On International Mine Awareness Day this year, therefore, we are sharing some recent stories about just how positively landmine clearance has impacted some of the lives of those living with the deadly legacy of conflict.

Bringing prosperity to families in Cambodia

Twelve years ago, Moun Yat and her family were the only ones to settle in their village. They intended to farm the land surrounding their home but soon discovered that it was littered with landmines: the explosive remnants of the civil war that raged throughout the 1980s and 90s. 

The area was so contaminated that they had to keep their children indoors, but they had no choice other than to risk their lives farming the land.

With the support of our donors, MAG has changed that. Our team has safely cleared the land around Moun Yat’s home and the surrounding fields. Now, the family grow bananas and mangoes and the village has grown into a thriving community where children can play safely outdoors.

MAG also helped build a road, to connect the village with surrounding communities and marketplaces, so Moun Yat and other families can sell their produce. In a country where 80 per cent of the population depends on farming, fishing and forestry for their main source of income, this kind of basic infrastructure can make the world of difference.

“Thanks to MAG the village people feel safe." Moun Yat says. "We are so happy for what you have done for us, what MAG has done for the village."

Rescuing Soran from a minefield in Iraq

It was 08:00 when Soran Kabir Kareem received a call from one of his cattle herders: his cows had been attacked by a wolf. 

When Soran made his way to the field, he was only half-prepared for the sight that confronted him—dead, injured and mutilated cows were spread across the grass. Soran realised something wasn't right. A wolf alone could not be responsible for the carnage he saw laid out before him. 

"When I approached the animals, I saw a mine next to a cow. Then I looked around and saw several other mines around me. That's when I knew I was in the middle of a minefield," Soran said, as he realised the wolf must have chased the cows into this danger zone. 

"I thought it was the end of my life. I was afraid to even take one step," Soran recalls. But he stayed calm and called MAG’s emergency hotline. 

It was a tense waiting game. "When I was waiting for MAG, an injured cow was lying right next to a mine very close to me," he recalled. "I was very worried that the cow would move and set off the mine.”

The MAG clearance team immediately made their way to Soran. Upon arrival, they worked as quickly as possible to clear an access lane and remove four landmines to give him a clear escape route.

Soran was more than a little relieved to be freed. "I felt like I was reborn because I knew I was going to survive."

Venus's quick thinking saves lives in Angola

The crumpled wreckage of a tank might seem like a rare sight, but for 11-year-old Venus and his 8-year-old brother, Eduardo, it makes for a permanent fixture in their back garden in Cambinga, a small village in Moxico, Angola.

Venus was playing out with his friends when he discovered an unexploded bomb, a remnant of conflict that ravaged Angola for forty years. Thanks to a MAG risk education session, he knew exactly what to do when he came across this lethal item. He alerted the MAG Rapid Response Team who arrived and safely and removed the unexploded bomb.

With the family's home now made safe, Venus and Eduardo's father, Jose, expressed his relief. "We like MAG a lot and we are grateful. Without them, many more people would have died—including my two sons here."

"We like MAG a lot and we are grateful. Without them, many more people would have died—including my two sons."

We couldn’t have helped people like Venus, Soran or Moun Yat over the last year without the amazing support of our supporters and donors. 

As we face an unprecedented time, we hope we can count on your continued support to work towards a world free of the threat of landmines and unexploded bombs.