The European Union renews its support to demining in Lebanon (25/02/2011)

Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon, and Brigadier General Mohammad Fehmi, Director of the Lebanon Mine Action Centre, visited the Regional Mine Action Centre in Nabatieh today as well as two clearance areas in Touline and Majdel Selem (South Lebanon).

The European Union is funding a new mine action programme of €7 million which aims at restoring the conditions necessary for the security of the population as well as local economic and social development. The activities implemented by five non-governmental organisations include clearance operations of cluster munitions in South Lebanon and mine clearance in Central and Northern Lebanon, awareness campaigns on the dangers of mines, and support to victims.

The programme was prepared in close collaboration with the Lebanon Mine Action Centre, which is the Lebanese demining authority, and follows the national mine action priorities. One component targets the reinforcement of Lebanese mine action capacities in management and technical terms through the funding of a project implemented by UNDP.

During the visit, Ambassador Eichhorst discussed the daily work with demining teams and acknowledged the impact of the current activities on the local population.

Ambassador Eichhorst said: "Since 2006 the European Union donated €18 million for clearance operations. Lives have been saved and the number of injured people has decreased. Many people have also been able to return to their homes or their land, which is fundamental for local life, and the economy to return to normal. Despite these positive results, there is still a considerable amount of unexploded ordnance. Too many children are still prevented to play on the field, too many men and women are still risking to be injured for life. Therefore, the European Union has launched a new demining programme".