The five-day war between Georgia and Russia in August 2008 left Georgia with a dangerous legacy of cluster bombs, landmines and other explosives. Hundreds of people died and over 150,000 were forced to flee their homes.
Shida Kartli, one of the country’s most productive agricultural areas, was badly affected. Families, unable to farm their land, were plunged into poverty.
By the end of 2009, HALO had cleared Shida Kartli, so people could return home and cultivate their land again. Since then, we have cleared thousands of hectares of land in Georgia, including a minefield near a former Soviet military base. The area is now the site of a reservoir which will supply fresh water to the 147,000 inhabitants of Kutaisi when it is completed.
There are still six minefields to clear in Georgia. Chief among them is Red Bridge, where 13 people have been killed and four injured, including Serkan Musaev. He was helping his friend look for lost cattle when he stepped on a landmine, losing his right leg. We are urgently seeking the permissions needed to clear Red Bridge, so more lives are not put at risk.