Since 2000 HALO has provided the sole capacity in Nagorno Karabakh for the clearance of mines and cluster munitions and the disposal of unexploded ordnance (UXO). Additionally HALO has established a Mine Action Centre (MAC) to collate all information concerning mines, explosive remnants of war (ERW) and safe routes, and to disseminate it to all stakeholders and other actors as requested.
HALO Nagorno Karabakh has, to date, returned over 270 km² of contaminated land to previously impacted communities, during which over 67,000 landmines, cluster munitions and other items of unexploded ordnance have been safely located and destroyed. At its peak HALO’s program employed 280 Karabakhi staff but this has shrunk in recent years to 140 as finding funding has become more difficult. If the people of Nagorno Karabakh are to be able to live lives free of mines and cluster munitions then staff numbers need to be restored to their peak as quickly as possible.
The program in Nagorno Karabakh conducts both manual and mechanical clearance of minefields. Cluster munition strikes are cleared by HALO’s Battle Area Clearance (BAC) teams whilst other items of UXO are cleared by HALO’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams. HALO’s program is complemented by Survey and Mines Risk Education (MRE) teams, with MRE fully incorporated into the school curriculum. The program is managed by one expatriate, while all other senior management positions are filled by locally recruited and trained staff: as with all other HALO programs the policy is to build a substantial local capacity that can deal with the problem.