25 June 2018, Riyadh – The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief) today launches the Saudi Project for Landmine Clearance (MASAM), a program committed to making Yemen landmine-free in order to protect civilians and to safeguard the delivery of urgent humanitarian supplies.
Landmines are a major impediment to social and economic development efforts, exposing citizens to potentially fatal risk for generations to come. There have been more than 600,000 mines planted in the liberated areas by militias; 130 thousand internationally banned sea mines, 40,000 mines in Marib and 16,000 mines in the island of Mayon.
The ongoing conflict has resulted in the manufacture and deployment of landmines by militias causing over 1,539 recorded deaths, injury for over 3,000 and permanent disability to over 900 Yemenis, a majority of whom are women, children and the elderly. Unfortunately, these recorded figures are far less than the actual numbers as the national demining program has not been able to identify and register them. Such hostile action has also resulted in a wide array of other life-threatening crises and security concerns.
At a KSrelief-funded prosthetics centre in Marib, Yemen, 305 prosthetic limbs were fitted last year to more than 195 landmine victims. The most affected groups were Yemeni women and children; to date, the centre has provided treatment to patients between the ages of 12 and 72.
This KSrelief-funded project is being launched following the Yemeni Government’s signing of an Agreement for Clearance of Landmines and Explosive Remnants of War with Dynashield, in solidarity with Dynasafe, a UK company. Clearance will be delivered over five phases:
· Phase one: Consultation, surveying and coordination with local authorities.
· Phase two: Deployment and the initial execution on safe clearing of landmines.
· Phase three: Comprehensive clearing operations for landmine removals across at least six governorates of Yemen, including Sanaa, Marib, Aden and Taiz.
· Phase four: Implementation of rapid-intervention teams to clear critical aid delivery infrastructure and emergency response situations.
· Phase five: Comprehensive operations management and ongoing delivery of phases three and four.
Commenting on the launch of the plan, Dr Abdullah Al Rabeeah, Supervisor General of KSrelief, said:
“The use of landmines against the innocent people of Yemen has been a despicable blight on the lives of civilians and aid workers across the country. KSrelief and our partners at Dynashield, with the support of the Yemeni government, are committed to the safe and comprehensive removal of these devastating devices. Critically, this project will also clear aid delivery routes to ensure an unimpeded flow of humanitarian supplies. Our promise is a life without landmines for the people of Yemen.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has consistently extended its impartial support to many countries through its extensive humanitarian efforts around the world. The support and welfare of the Yemeni people has been a priority of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for decades, reaffirming the close bond between the Saudi and Yemeni people, who share common borders, religion, language, family and social ties. KSrelief has played a major role in assisting Yemenis, implementing 262 projects worth more than USD 1.6 billion. The projects have covered all humanitarian sectors, including food security, health, shelter, community support and education.
“The Kingdom is introducing a humanitarian initiative through KSrelief entitled: “The Saudi Project to De-mine” (MASAM). MASAM’s aim is to eliminate all forms of landmines which have been planted by Houthi militias in a number of Yemeni governorates. The programme also strives to help the Yemeni people to overcome the many humanitarian tragedies caused by the deployment of these landmines. 305 prosthetic limbs were fitted last year to more than 195 landmine victims at a KSrelief-funded prosthetics centre in Marib, Yemen. The most affected groups were Yemeni women and children; to date, the centre has provided treatment to patients between the ages of 12 and 72. 11 women, 12 children and 346 men received treatment at prosthetics centre in Marib during the first and second phases, where the second phase continues to our current date.
“The Kingdom has provided more than USD 11 billion in aid to Yemen including humanitarian aid and other services to support refugees, development aid to support the economy and Central Bank of Yemen. I pay tribute to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz and HRH, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, for their extensive efforts to enable KSrelief to support humanitarian and relief work in many countries, and in Yemen in particular.”