Charity given £6.6m to clear landmines in Ukraine

time:2023-06-09 06:37:30source:NBC News author:Press center6

A Manchester-based charity that clears landmines has been given £6.6m ($8m) from the US government to carry out life-saving work in Ukraine.

Mines Advisory Group (MAG) has been working in Ukraine since April 2022.

Darren Cormack, chief executive of MAG, said the use of landmines and cluster munitions was "creating a devastating and deadly legacy".

He said the funding would enable the charity to "support communities facing the devastating consequences of war".

"As a result of 12 months of intense conflict in Ukraine, the country is now sadly massively contaminated with landmines, cluster munitions and unexploded ordnance," he told BBC North West Tonight.

The funding has been awarded by the US State Department's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement.

It will enable the charity to significantly scale-up its Ukraine operations and conduct survey and clearance work.

The money will also be used to deliver risk education to communities caught up in the conflict.

Mr Cormack said 75% of those killed or injured by landmines would be civilian and, of those, 50% would be children.

"I would like to live in a world that didn't have landmines but it does," he said.

"We are - as an organisation - are very proud to be based from Manchester, working internationally, building relations with communities who have lived with the deadly effects of conflict for many years.

"Their lives are in disarray already as a result of all the different aspects that conflict brings.

"Then you return home and find that your home is not usable even if it's there; that your children aren't safe to play there.

"I send my three kids out into the garden and worry about them but that garden is pretty safe compared to what other fathers and mothers must be going through.

"That's why we do what we do. And we'll keep doing it as long as possible."

Karen Chandler, director of the Office for Weapons Removal and Abatement, said it was pleased to be able to support the charity's work in Ukraine, where the challenge of unexploded ordnance and landmines was "immense".

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