MAG deminers clear an area in 4 de Fevereiro, where returning refugees and internally displaced people are being resettled. [Photo: J.B. Russell]
“MAG's wondrous legacy in Moxico is everywhere to see, as local people resume lives that fear of landmines had until recently made impossible,” said the US Ambassador to Angola, Dan Mozena, after the first of two visits by donors to MAG’s Angola operations.
The Ambassador, his wife and five colleagues from the Embassy saw MAG deminers in operation, clearing a mine contaminated area, as well as viewing a demolition, at the end of April.
The Ambassador also met with representatives of the local community, Chief Rogério António Suco and a representative of the national mine action authority, CNIDAH, Chile Manuel Chicanha.
(Left to right) Chief Rogério António Suco, MAG Technical Operations Manager JP Botha, US Ambassador Dan Mozena and CNIDAH Represetative Chile Manuel Chicanha in 4 De Fevereiro.
Machteld Cattryse, Policy Officer at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Angola visits an area being cleared.
[Photos: MAG Angola]
“My visit to Moxico and, most especially, to the MAG work site outside Luena was a powerful moment for me,” he said.
“There is something so deeply moving about seeing farmers tilling land that once was untouchable, about seeing children playing in an area where mines had earlier been removed, about watching villagers traversing areas that had once been no-go areas.
“MAG's wondrous legacy in Moxico is everywhere to see as local people resume lives that fear of landmines had until recently made impossible.
“As the representative of the United States in Angola, I was proud that American taxpayers were helping make possible the fine work that MAG is doing to make Angola, once one of the most heavily mined countries in the world, free from landmines.”
The Ambassador also took the opportunity to announce the award to MAG Angola of two grants by the US State Department's Office of Weapon’s Removal and Abatement for more than $2million.
On 17 and 18 May, MAG Angola also hosted Machteld Cattryse, Policy Officer at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Angola. MAG Angola is in the third year of a multi-annual grant from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
While in Luena, Machteld was given a briefing on MAG’s work, a tour of the base and visited two of MAG’s recent tasks: in 4 De Fevereiro, where land is being cleared for the benefit of returnees, and in Sinai Novo, which will support the Ministry of Urbanisation and Rehabilitation’s plans to build 2,000 units of social housing.
She also spent some time with the Community Liaison team observing them delivering Mine Risk Education in Alto Luena. During this time three items of unexploded ordnance were reported, demonstrating that remnants of conflict are still scattered throughout the province, even outside areas known to be mined.
She said: “During my field visit in Luena, MAG demonstrated that its work has a direct impact on its beneficiaries: the local communities of Moxico, living in either urban or rural areas. Through the demining of the region and the assistance given to the local government and communities, MAG helps to clear the way to development.”
14 June 2010
- The problem in Angola and how MAG is helping
- More on Community Liaison
- More on Mine Risk Education
- Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs [external site]
- Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement [external site]
- See Tags below for related articles