The Danish Demining Group (DDG) is the part of DRC which focuses on Humanitarian Mine Action and Armed Violence Reduction (AVR). Humanitarian mine action interventions work to reduce the number of casualties in emergency situations where landmines and explosive remnants of war pose a significant threat to the freedom of movement and safety of displaced populations.
All DRC emergency operations must involve DDG from the outset where there are issues relating to landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW). A DDG advisor can provide support with an initial assessment to inform the design of the response and eventual deployment/recruitment of specialist staff if needed.
Through Humanitarian Mine Action we mitigate the risks for humanitarian operations and local populations through education and disposal and clearance.
Humanitarian Mine Action interventions in emergencies
The objective of Humanitarian Mine Action in emergencies is to reduce the number of potential casualties from landmines and ERWs.
In the emergency phase, key aspects of DRC/DDG’s Humanitarian Mine Action programming include:
- Emergency Assessment: Defining the scope and impact of landmine, ERW and IED hazards in the targeted area is essential to identify the level of risk for staff, beneficiaries and programme implementation prior to the intervention. The initial assessment should identify suspected hazardous areas as well as what resources are required to address the hazards.
- Mine Risk Education (MRE): MRE works to improve the awareness and understanding of landmine and ERW risk amongst community and DRC staff. In an emergency the main objective is to reach the maximum amount of people at risk with basic safety messages to prevent landmine and ERW related accidents from happening. Often, due to the lack of reliable data about casualties, MRE in an emergency is implemented based on general principles and lessons learned from other similar mine action programs in order prevent additional loss of life. To ensure greater efficiency and effectiveness it is important that emergency MRE interventions transit to arrangements that are based on epidemiological data of casualties as soon as possible.
- Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD): In addition to the threat posed by landmines, there are usually many shells, bombs and munitions that fail to explode that are left on the battleground when the fighting is over. An EOD team is able to address a wide range of explosive hazards, including landmines and un-exploded ordnances (UXO).
- Manual survey/clearance: In an emergency response there might be an urgent need for clearance of land to ensure freedom of movement, refugee repatriation, return of IDPs, access to livelihood, open roads etc. This will require deployment of larger clearance assets. An integral part of clearance is survey activities with the purpose to collect evidence to support reliable decision making. One essential outcome of this process is identification and marking of confirmed hazardous areas (CHA).
Common Challenges in Humanitarian Mine Action in Emergencies
- Ensuring collaboration between DRC and DDG colleagues in the emergency planning process. In addition to putting people at additional risk and jeopardizing the whole intervention as the contamination and extent of explosive hazards has not been addressed, it also prevents the opportunity to provide a holistic programmatic solution to the humanitarian crisis.
- Authorization to conduct clearance activities is a lengthy process and therefore in countries where DDG is not already operational, it is unlikely to be granted within the immediate emergency intervention period.
- Working together with police forces and the army in conflict settings may run the risk of negatively affecting the perception of DRC’s neutrality.
Core guidance and standards
The main international normative reference documents that DDG use for the implementation of mine action and related activities are:
International Mine Action Standards (IMAS)
International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATG)
International Small Arms Control Standards (ISACS)
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s ‘Armed Violence Lens’
The DRC contact people for Mine Action in emergencies are:
Name: Jørgen Norman Bach
Position: Chief Technical Advisor
Email: [email protected]
Name: Richard MacCormac
Position: Head of DDG
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +45 33 73 53 58