As in the Falklands, Colombian children in rural areas taught to identify mines and unexploded ordnance
As happened during decades in the Falkland Islands, children in rural Colombia are being taught how to identify landmines and ordnance planted near their villages by the several guerrilla groups that ravaged the country during the half-century-long insurrection.
The charity HALO Trust Foundation has created programs that help identify anti-personnel mines, the deadliest for the children in the regions of Antioquia, Meta, Tolima, Cauca, Valle del Cauca, Nariño and Putumayo.
The HALO Trust is a non-political and non-religious registered British charity and American non-profit organization which removes debris left behind by war, in particular land mines.
We teach children and their communities about the risks of the mines, how to spot them, and what to do if they find one, according to a community defence organization.
Younger people do not know how to correctly identify explosive artefacts or ordnance. This has always been and still is a concern.
HALO foundation says that since 1990, some 12.000 people have been injured or died in Colombia because of unexploded and undetected devices. Colombia is only second to Afghanistan as to the number of victims from mines and explosives.
Mines not only threaten lives but also the means of subsistence in rural areas. Families fear to sow the soil, natural resources are blocked and children can’t go to school or play outside their homes because of the danger of accidents.
So far anti-personnel mines have been eliminated or swept out from coffee plantations, small farms and indigenous refuges. It is estimated some 900 green areas have been cleared of the deadly anti-personnel mines so difficult to detect since most are made out of plastic.
The Falkland Islands only this year, almost four decades since the end of the 1982 conflict, celebrated the clearance of anti-personnel mines, explosives and ordnance from strategic areas near communities, obviously out of bounds for the people. And children in school were regularly taught how to identify such dangerous, deadly devices.