Australia helps clear the Pacific on Mine Awareness Day

2014-04-07 02:33:13 | Al Muslim News
Australia helps clear the Pacific on Mine Awareness Day


The recent removal of the 30,000th item of unexploded ordnance on the Pacific nation of Palau highlights Australian-funded work to prevent indiscriminate deaths and injuries on International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. The Cleared Ground Demining Team, funded by the Australian Government, recently removed an unexploded sea mine that had been laid 70 years ago on the fringes of a mangrove swamp on Palau, 800 kilometres east of the Philippines. Palau was the scene of a significant battle in 1944 and, like many Pacific Island countries, remains littered with the explosive remnants of World War II. Australia has provided $3 million over three years to support the clearance of explosive remnants of war in Palau and to educate people of the risks of these items. People of Peleliu Island in Palau live side-by-side with unexploded ordnance that contaminates the majority of agricultural areas where the staple taro is grown. Each year on 4 April, International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action reminds us that more than 70 countries or territories in the world are still affected by landmines or other explosive remnants of war which kill or maim about 4000 people per year. Australia has played a critical role in helping to reduce this threat, providing more than $295 million since 1997 to prevent the world’s poorest people from being indiscriminately killed or injured, and making more land available for food and other productive uses. Through the $100 million Mine Action Strategy, Australia has supported more than 20 affected countries across the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, making us one of the leading contributors to mine clearance efforts in the world..

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