Calling the widespread deployment of landmines a “human tragedy,” representatives of the Canadian government announced plans to contribute more than US$170,000 to rehabilitation and vocational services for victims of landmines in Yemen through the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy and International Cooperation Minister Maria Minna announced the contribution on March 31 during the Canadian visit of Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Saleh.
“[Landmines] continue to kill and maim men, women and children long after the end of the conflict,” Minna said. “The personal cost to the victims, their families and communities is overwhelming.”
The Canadian government will channel the funds through ADRA Canada. “ADRA helps landmine victims deal with their injury and provides them with physical therapy to learn how to use their artificial limbs,” explains Kay Kierstead, ADRA Canada communications coordinator. “Later, we teach them how to do a special, stationary trade, such as accounting or sewing.”
“Through this program, Canada supports victims of landmines in Yemen by helping them rebuild their lives and reintegrate into their communities,” Axworthy added. “In doing so, we can help Yemen to come to grips with the deadly legacy of landmines and assist society in healing the wounds left by years of conflict.” Yemeni officials estimate that a total of half a million landmines have been planted in the country over the past 40 years during periods of civil unrest.
The new funds bring Canada’s total contribution to mine action projects in Yemen to nearly US$1.5 million over the past two years.