This story was originally featured in our April 2017 edition of The Next Step.
Aderito Ismael, HI's head of demining operations in Colombia and former head of demining in Mozambique shares about our operations in Colombia:
Colombia is mountainous. Demining here is complicated. In rural areas, many routes are inaccessible, or even non-existent.
Sometimes, journeys have to be made on foot or horseback, taking several hours. Ideally, we would like to work with demining equipment and dogs, which would considerably speed up operations. However, as things stand, the steepness of the land means that using such heavy machinery would be impossible. We have to adapt to a situation that makes mine clearance more complex than in other countries.
Another complication is the kinds of mines we encounter. Many armed groups produced their own improvised devices, which do not always contain metal, hampering demining and detection.
Despite these obstacles, the team is ready to adapt. We've been providing indigenous communities with risk education on mines and explosive remnants of war for years. We look forward to clearing the land, and giving it back to the people.