There have been 580 reported accidents caused by landmines, cluster munitions, and other unexploded ammunition left from the conflict in the late 1990s. Explosive debris continues to litter the countryside, buried in fields and family gardens. This project will fund deminers to clear a minefield in Dimce, Kovoso, benefiting over 160 people in the village. Once cleared, these families can grow crops, gather wood, and live their lives free from the threat of mines.
During the 1990s conflict between Yugoslav forces and the Kosovo Liberation Army, 1,392 bombs containing 295,700 submunitions were dropped - around 20% of these didn't explode. The war left behind not just landmines, but cluster bombs and many other deadly remnants. Today, Kosovo is the second poorest country in Europe. The rural poor are hit the hardest, with mines threatening human and animal welfare, and leaving farmers unable to cultivate land to feed their families and earn an income.
The project will hire and train local men and women who will use metal detectors to methodically locate and destroy landmines from the Dimce minefield. Our work prevents casualties, and our deminers earn a living wage while helping to make their village and farms safer. It will also provide jobs in a country where unemployment is at 30%. An anonymous donor has pledged to match every dollar donated to fund the completion of the clearance of all minefields for a mine-free Kosovo.
Landmine and cluster munition clearance is a permanent and sustainable solution: once destroyed, landmines are gone forever. Land is a vital source of food and income for rural families. By making more land available for productive use, farmers can safely cultivate crops and support their families for generations. When the threat of mines is removed, local residents can lift themselves out of poverty - transforming their communities and improving their lives.