Areas affected by landmine contamination, are one of modern times biggest challenges; killing and maiming thousands of people around the world every year, leaving fertile land unusable for agricultural production, blocking the use of natural resources and hindering infrastructure developments. The total cost of all the devastation is so great that UN and World Bank hava not been able to quantify it in specific numbers. Politically, it is one of the biggest obstacles of new-born democracies, a protector of dictatorships and a friend of international terror organizations.
Apart from Australia, the effect of landmine contamination can be felt on all continents. Land masses the size of France and Germany combined are rendered unusable for human habitat and use. In a world with an increasing food shortage, lack of clean water, global warming and hungry countries competing for the natural resources, the world community recognizes that solving the mine problem is part of a global solution badly needed. Most of the world’s military powers have recognized the landmine problem as a global security threat. Hence a new willingness to cooperate with UN and other non governmental bodies in the removal of ordinance has developed.
Clearing land mines is an expensive and specialized task. Many factors are needed to concider before a mine clearing operation is started such as: political agreements, socio-economic impact studies, mapping, awareness programs, security risk assessments, priority studies, terrain type, weather seasons, language, logistical studies, human and technical resources, etc, etc. In the end it always boils down to money and the time factors.
Over the past 4-5 years, the world annual budgets for the removal of landmines have steadily increased. The mine clearing community and different organizations have gone through an overhaul to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world. A much more globally recognized structure and standard has been adopted. This positively affects most sectors/aspects of a mine clearing program. GICHD (Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining) assists and cooperate with Humanitarian, Commercial and Military actors. Sponsored by UN to oversee and advice the actors, GICHD has managed to create a common platform for mine clearing operations. Part of this platform is the recognition of Mechanical Mine Clearing Machines as one of the important players in a “tool-box” concept. With the increased military involvement in humanitarian mine clearing, (Rapid response, post war operations, war on terrorism, political programs etc,) mechanical mine-clearing machines are now essential parts of most programs. These machines have become both tactical and political tools for any armed force involved in international operations.
More information can be found here: