DDG and State Emergency Service of Ukraine started joint humanitarian demining in DonbasOn 16 September 2019, four teams from the State Emergency Service of Ukraine (SES), together with the Danish Demining Group (DDG), the specialized humanitarian mine action unit within the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), started humanitarian mine clearance near the village of Toshkivka, Luhansk Oblast, in eastern Ukraine. The teams are tasked with clearing the agricultural field from landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) and passing it on to local farmers.
“Ukraine ranks amongst the top 5 countries for civilian casualties as a result of landmines and ERW. Over 1,700 casualties have been recorded since 2014. The exact scale and extent of landmine contamination remains unknown, but it is already clear that a multiyear -- and likely decade-long – effort will have to be mounted to release land safely back to the local population. Working in close collaboration with the duty-bearers, namely the SES, is important for DDG in order to assure a large range of humanitarian mine clearance.” Krista Zongolowicz, DRC – DDG Ukraine Country Director, said.
The Danish Demining Group, with the financial support of the United States Government, has trained 100 SES deminers in line with international mine action standards (IMAS) and also provided essential equipment worth 5 million Ukrainian hryvnias.
Krista Zongolowicz emphasized: “Another important task is bringing the Mine Action Law into force. DDG strongly encourages the establishment of the National Mine Action Authority, the Mine Action Centre, and local mine action offices. It is also necessary to develop and approve a permanent national mine action standard for the work of all mine action operators in Ukraine. That will help to save the lives of thousands of people living under the constant threat caused by landmines and explosive remnants of war.”
DDG urges to use best international mine action practices and technical expertise in order to conduct a large-scale humanitarian mine clearance of Donbas and support the state in fulfilling its obligations. It is also essential to continue involving national operators, namely SES, into the humanitarian demining.
Danish Demining Group (DDG) works with and transfers capacities to the State Emergency Service of Ukraine within the framework of the project “Training and Deployment of demining teams within the State Emergency Services (SES) of Ukraine” generously funded by the United States of America Government.