In 2011, MLI-donated dog teams searched & cleared 9 million square meters of land in some of the most heavily mine-infested countries of the world, thereby making the ground safe for people to work, children to play, and communities to grow. As we celebrated International Day for Mine Awareness on April 4th, MLI reflected on what still needs to be done to help mine-affected countries and we remain committed to promoting hope, growth, and stability by helping war-torn countries rid their land of mines.
In 2012, MLI is continuing to expand our programs to countries in need and our newest program in Angola began when the National Demining Commission of Angola (CNIDAH) specifically requested MLI’s assistance in building an MDD capacity within its National Institute of Demining (INAD). Angola continues to suffer horribly from landmines after 30 years of armed conflict that ended ten years ago. Every province remains contaminated by mines – affecting nearly 2.4 million people who are unable to use the land or travel freely because of the hidden killers. Barely three percent of arable land is being cultivated today because of the threat of mines and the UN estimates more than 70,000 landmine survivors. The country has vast natural resources, but trade is limited because of blocked transportation routes. Landmines inhibit access to roads, railways, and seaports, as well as land for housing, power lines, and fiber optic cables, thus significantly hindering economic reconstruction and the resettlement of refugees.
Ships in Angola’s central port in Luanda can wait for months before they are unloaded and plans for another port to be built nearby in Bengo are underway, but the proposed land is severely polluted with mines, rendering it unusable. Therefore, MLI's Mine Detection Dogs, which are currently finishing their training and are scheduled to be accredited by May 2012, will begin working in this region as early at June 2012. Clearing this area of landmines will have a dramatic impact on transportation, access to resources, and trade. By using Mine Detection Dogs, Angola will be able to clear the land up to 30 times more quickly, which will have a very positive impact on the country's socio-economic development.
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