Go to main content

HI mine clearance in northern Lebanon

Explosive weapons
Lebanon

HI’s deminers are clearing mines in northern Lebanon, in an area contaminated during the 1975-1990 conflict. The aim is to remove the threat facing villagers. 

The mine clearance team in northern Lebanon

The mine clearance team in northern Lebanon | © Oriane van den Broeck / HI

A total of 700,000 square metres of land have been cleared of mines since 2011 - the equivalent of one hundred football pitches. Between 2017 and 2018, HI’s mine clearance experts found and destroyed 4,500 explosive devices. 

Ending a persistent threat 

HI’s four teams of deminers are currently clearing fields in the district of Bsharri, which were contaminated by anti-personnel mines in the 1980s. The mined areas are very close to several villages. Accidents just after the civil war, in the 1990s, made a lasting impression on the local population. Since then, HI has provided them with information on the threat from explosive remnants of war and set up warning signs. 

Adapting to the terrain 

HI’s mine clearance experts operate in different types of terrain, depending on the season. They work at high altitude in summer, and in winter, when it starts to snow, they return to the lower ground. Sometimes the land is hard to get to and the mine clearance experts have to build a makeshift staircase with sandbags to access the area they are working in. Heavy rain makes the slopes slippery and sometimes prevents teams from working. 

Clearing different types of mines

The mines in Bsharri are old and buried in thick undergrowth. Mine clearance experts use metal detectors to locate them. When they find one, rather than move it, the team leader detonates it on the spot. Other mines are plastic and cannot be picked up by metal detectors. To find them, mine clearance experts probe large swathes of land and neutralise the danger. 

Restoring land to villagers 

HI stays in permanent contact with villagers who live close to the minefields where they work. It is essential to update them on operations, particularly if they own land cleared of mines. It is also vital to warn local shepherds, who are among the most frequent casualties. After the civil war, many villagers had to sell their mined land and leave the region.

Since the start of the clearance operations, 30,000 villagers have returned to their land. Today, 76% of owners have rebuilt their homes or started growing olives, pears and grapes again. 

Where your
support
helps

PRESS CONTACT

CANADA

Gabriel PERRIAU

USA

Mica BEVINGTON

 

Help them
concretely

To go further

Fleeing violence in Syria: Osama has been a refugee in a wheelchair for 8 years
© HI
Explosive weapons Inclusion Rehabilitation

Fleeing violence in Syria: Osama has been a refugee in a wheelchair for 8 years

25- year-old Osama was living in a nice house with his family in the south of Syria until his neighbourhood was bombed in 2012. His 13-year old little brother died and the family had to flee. A missile fragment entered one of his 12th vertebras, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

Fatehia walks again thanks to HI’s teams
© ISNA Agency / HI
Emergency Explosive weapons Rehabilitation

Fatehia walks again thanks to HI’s teams

Eight-year-old Fatehia was seriously injured in a bombing raid on her village in northern Yemen. She now receives medical and psychological support from HI.

Ameen: "Now I can walk, I want to go back to university"
© HI
Emergency Explosive weapons Rehabilitation

Ameen: "Now I can walk, I want to go back to university"

Ameen, 19, was the victim of an explosion in Hodeidah. He was injured in his right leg, just above the knee. HI supplied him with a prosthesis and helped him walk again.