Iraq is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. Cities like Fallujah in Anbar province are surrounded by long barrier minefields of home-made mines.
The conflict with ISIS caused immeasurable damage and forced four million people to flee their homes. Many remain displaced, unwilling or unable to return, while others have ventured back to find streets and houses unrecognisable.
Mohsen and his family were forced to abandon their home when it was badly damaged in the fighting. He has eight children and is worried for their safety. They won’t return until the explosives have been cleared from their backyard.
HALO was approved to operate in Iraq in May 2018, making it one of our youngest programs. To date we have employed and trained 150 Iraqi men and women.
Our work is currently focused in Baiji and Tikrit, where we are clearing buildings and streets so that people can return home and schools can re-open. Our survey team is also recording and mapping the threats. One of their first jobs was to mark a route that is safe for children to take to school. We are also teaching children and parents about how to stay safe in areas that are littered with explosives.