Lebanon: Villagers Can Return

On April 24, 2012, the Handicap International team in Lebanon restored two plots of cleared land to villagers from Toula.


The land was cleared as part of a demining project launched 20 months ago in the district of Batroun. More than 645,834 sq.ft. of land was manually cleared by deminers, who advanced slowly, foot by foot, to avoid exposing themselves to danger. Since the civil war, this mountainous terrain of North Lebanon has been littered with anti-personnel mines and explosive remnants of war, such as grenades, shells, rockets or cluster munitions. These weapons have threatened the local population for more than 30 years.

The project's dual aim — reducing the threat to inhabitants and improving the socio-economic development of the region — immediately gained local support. In fact, 33,000 people will benefit. Plans are being made to use this land, now free of danger, to grow olives and restore or build new facilities. Some projects were launched in strategic areas as soon as the land was decontaminated, including the widening of a road, the erection of electric pylons and the completion of a bridge. Mission accomplished for the 12 brave deminers trained and managed by Handicap International!

Handicap International is the only humanitarian demining operator in the region. The organization continues its demining activities in North Lebanon and aims to clear all potentially dangerous sites earmarked as priorities by the Lebanese National Demining Centre in the district of Batroun. Years of work remains. Lebanon has made an international commitment to demine its territory by 2020.