Due to past wars and ongoing conflict, the Democratic Republic of Congo remains highly unstable. Clashes between the FARDC (Armed Forces of the DRC) and various rebel groups in the east of the country continue to destabilise the region and high numbers of people across the province remain displaced as a consequence.
Due to the region’s high exposure to conflict, many areas remain contaminated with UnexplodedOrdnance (UXO) left behind following the five-year war that ended in 2003 afterclaiming an estimated 4.5 million lives.
As a result, many areas remain inaccessible due to the continued presence or suspected threat of UXO. Mortars, grenades and other explosive devices continue to pose a daily threat to men, women and children who live – often unknowingly – side by side with these dangerous items designed to maim or kill.
Contamination is indiscriminate with items often being discovered in farmer’s fields, near large structures such as schools and hospitals or beside major access routes such as roads and airstrips.
DCA first commenced Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) operations in the DR Congo in 2004. Originally based in Katanga Province, DCA spent eight years clearing landmines and UXO and providing Risk Education to vulnerable populations before relocating to South Kivu Province in 2012.
South Kivu suffers from the highest concentration of UXO contamination in the DR Congo and is also currently host to the highest number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the country. Furthermore, as of 2012, DCA is the only organisation carrying out humanitarian mine action initiatives in South Kivu Province.
Via the use of Multi-Task Teams (MTT) and in coordination with the United Nations Mine Action Coordination Centre (UNMACC) and other humanitarian actors, DCA is working to systematically reduce the levels of UXO contamination in South Kivu.
MTTs are small and highly mobile teams capable of identifying, removing and safely destroying potentially hazardous items as well as carrying out both basic landmine impact surveys and Risk Education. Their multiple functions and compact size enables them to respond effectively and efficiently to a variety of HMA needs.