De-mining in Khtsaberd Village

Sponsor Name
Name as you would like it to appear
REGION Artsakh
CITY / VILLAGE Khtsaberd
START DATE Immediately
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.


While the people of NK are generally well-aware of the mine threats surrounding their homes, the scarcity of economic opportunities often leaves them with no choice but to risk life and limb in pursuit of subsistence activities such as foraging or cutting wood to stay warm during the harsh winters. In an especially remote place such as Khtsaberd, this calculus borne of necessity is even more acutely felt. Like most other communities in NK, the people of Khtsaberd make use of the land despite the dangers it contains. This project will mark an important step toward the eradication of the landmine threat in Khtsaberd, allowing the villagers to travel, forage, and graze their animals in safety.


In the short term, minefield G-90B in the village of Ktsaberd will be mine free six months after the start of de-mining.


In the long term this project stands to improve the long-term economic standing of the residents of Khtsaberd, as the elimination of the mine problem there will allow the villagers to unlock more of their economic potential. For example, as all households in Khtsaberd depend almost entirely on animal husbandry, landmines are a direct threat to their financial wellbeing. The loss of a cow, valued at about $500 locally, represents a major financial strain for any family in NK. Additional economic beneficiaries of this project include the de-miners and their families, as this project will provide full-time employment for eight Karabakhi Armenians for a period of six months


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HALO's program in NK is frequently cited in local and international media, and whenever possible, HALO provides recognition of its supporters. All materials produced as part of this project will be jointly branded between HALO and The Paros Foundation. For example, the de-miners deployed for this project will wear The Paros Foundation logo on their body armor, and with notice, HALO can transport Paros staff members and donors to witness the team working in person. Sponsorship of this project will also be recognized on The Paros Foundation website and in appropriate press related to this important project. Following clearance of the minefield, HALO staff will hold a formal handover ceremony with local leaders in order to return the cleared land back to the community for safe and productive use; at this stage, HALO will place a board near the minefield marking The Paros Foundation's support for the clearance, with the Paros logo.
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