THE International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) yesterday donated demining equipment worth thousands of dollars to the Ministry of Defence for use in areas where demining activities are being conducted.
Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi received the equipment on behalf of the ministry.
As of January this year, Zimbabwe had 62 million square metres of land that needed to be demined.
Receiving the consignment, Dr Sekeramayi said the equipment would go a long way in assisting demining activities in the country.
“The current donation of 30 mine detectors, 30 recharge- able batteries, 30 charging sets, 30 deminer toolkits, 60 aprons, 60 face visors, 60 scratch shields, 60 knee guards, 80 magnetic sticks, two range finders, five measure wheels, five sighting compasses, two small tents, five water purification tents, 200 mine risk education T-shirts, 200 mine risk education notebooks and 200 mine education posters will certainly further enhance the demining capacity of our military deminers,” he said.
“Our plans of introducing a second demining squadron are at an advanced stage and once all necessary requirements are in place, the squadron will be deployed. The squadron will certainly be one of the beneficiaries donated equipment from ICRC.”
Dr Sekeramayi urged the ICRC to continue assisting Government in carrying out demining activities, saying the process was capital intensive.
He said Government was working on modalities to introduce two more demining organisations to complete the process.
Dr Sekeramayi said since the ICRC came on board in 2012, they had managed to clear 21 square kilometres on the secondary minefield, and 13 square kilometres on the primary minefield between the Limpopo and Mwenezi rivers.
Another four-kilometre stretch was cleared along the primary minefield across Mwenezi River.
ICRC Head of Delegation Mr Thomas Merkelbach said: “With nearly five years of fruitful cooperation and partnership with the Government of Zimbabwe behind us, the ICRC is taking a bold step to assist the Zimbabwe Mine Action Centre, by donating demining and protective equipment that will double the demining capacity of the Zimbabwean authorities.
“This is essential in a world where the international community has committed (itself) to ensuring universal acceptance of the Mine Ban Treaty, compliance and completion of demining by 2025.”
Since independence, 1 650 people have been killed by war explosive remnants and landmines.
About 35 cattle mainly from Mashonaland Central were killed by landmines this rainy season.