De-mining in Khtsaberd Village
END DATE Six months from start date
Since 2000, the HALO Trust has been the sole humanitarian mine clearance operator in Nagorno Karabakh (NK) and has now cleared 90% of known mined areas, with a commitment to delivering a mine-free Karabakh by 2020. In partnership with The Paros Foundation, HALO proposes to deploy one eight-person manual de-mining team to clear minefield G-90B near Khtsaberd village. G-90B is an anti-personnel minefield just outside Khtsaberd, adjacent to a road that is suspected of containing both anti-personnel and anti-tank mines. An economist recently conducted a study with the University of Southern California (due to be published 2017) on the socioeconomic impact of mines on communities in NK, to help measure the impact of HALO's mine clearance. This study included surveys of households from both mine-affected and mine-free communities around NK, including Khtsaberd. The results of the analysis show that landmines have a direct negative impact on household income.
Khtsaberd, whose population is 120 people across 38 households, is a remote village in the Hadrut region and one of the most heavily mine-impacted communities in NK, with at least three villagers having suffered accidents from landmines and other unexploded ordnance since the end of the war. HALO has been clearing mines around the village since 2011 and has already cleared ten minefields there. However, there are still several mined areas remaining near Khtsaberd, including the minefield G-90B, located just across the administrative border in the Lachin region.
As Lachin falls outside the Soviet-era boundaries of NK, HALO cannot conduct clearance there using funds from government donors. Much of the remaining mine threat in NK is outside the Soviet-era boundary, and HALO is reliant on support from private donors to make clearance possible. $23,000 is needed and will be matched fully by an anonymous donor for a total project budget of $46,000. The primary expenses relating to this project will be salaries for eight Karabakhi Armenian staff members working full-time for a period of six months. Currently, the HALO Trust's program in NK employs over 210 local staff members, making HALO one of the largest employers in NK. Given Khtsaberd's terrain and climate, HALO cannot conduct mine clearance there safely during the colder months of the year, when heavy snow makes it unviable to evacuate a de-miner in case of an accident. As such, HALO will start working at this minefield in May 2018 and expects to complete the task in October 2018.