Saudi landmine clearance project saves millions of lives in Yemen

July 17, 2020

Saudi Arabian landmine clearance project has saved millions of lives in Yemen. In the second week of July alone the project called Masam, destroyed about 62 anti-personnel mines, 266 anti-tank mines, and 686 unexploded ordnance — totaling 1,014 mines.The Kingdom launched the project “to create a safe space to allow basic humanitarian and reconstruction activities to proceed without fear and in safety”. The project is supported by Saudi forces in collaboration with international experts in dismantling the landmines laid in the country by Houthi militants. The main focus areas which need to be sanitised are Marib, Aden, Sanaa and Taiz.

– Key goals of the project, as mentioned on its website, are:
– The early and rapid Clearance of Landmines and Explosive Remnants of War from the Yemeni territory.
– Roads will be cleared to allow safe passage of humanitarian goods, including medical supplies.
– Schools and play areas will be made safe.
– Assist the Yemeni people to effectively address the human tragedy caused by unexploded ordnance, create resilience within communities and empower them to take long term responsibility.
– Create a mechanism for Humanitarian Mine Action management skill transfer to key personnel.

The project, which is being carried out in phases, was launched by King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) in 2018as a five-year program with an aim to dismantle mines in Yemen. Besides saving lives, the project also helped in restoring th country’s supply chains to make sure the humanitarian aid reaches its people.

So far the Saudi Project for Landmines Clearance has taken over 173,837 mines since the beginning of the project. It was reported that Iran-backed Houthi militias planted more than 1.1 million mines in Yemen during the peak of conflict. These mines killed hundreds of innocent civilians along with blowing the supply chains, blocking the movement of much needed medical and humanitarian aid from reaching people. The key motive behind the Saudi initiative was to restore peace and stability in Yemen which got butchered with the increasing influence of extremist militias in the region.

At the launch of the project, appreciating the program which met one of biggest challenges in way of Yemeni civilians, Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled Al Yamani said, “The Houthis innovated (several) multi-purpose mines, such as radio-controlled improvised explosive devices, some of which have come directly from Iran.” He added that the Houthis’ planting mines in random and unorganized would create a challenge for the country’s future.

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