First 12 months of EU-funded DCA mine project celebrated in Angola

The first 12 months of a DanChurchAid (DCA) mine action project in Angola was recently celebrated in Luena together with partners, including one of the main donors, the European Commission.

©Lars Halkjær
Team leader Francisco Gonçalvas Tucker Kapinãla presents DCA’s mine clearance work in Alto Campo at a donor event in Luena, Angola.

In Angola, DCA is currently clearing the Alto Campo mine field in the eastern province of Moxico. The work is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.
DCA has received €2 million for this work, while the UK-based mine action organisation, Mines Advisory Group (MAG), has received another €2 million.

DCA among two organisations in Moxico

DCA and MAG are the only two international de-mining organisations left in Moxico and the collaboration is good.
“Information sharing and coordination is essential between DCA and MAG to avoid duplication and ensure optimal use of resources,” says Fatmire Uka, operations manager for DCA in Angola.

At the 25 October event held in the Moxico capital of Luena, DCA presented its results regarding the work in Alto Campo. So far, 710 mines and 450 explosive remnants of war have been found and destroyed.
350,000 sqm have been cleared by manual clearance and another 150,000 sqm by non-technical survey processes. Because of the difficult terrain and the spread of items, works is particularly difficult.
So far, 37 people have been hurt in Alto Campo. Of these, 15 have died.

Support from government

At the event, the Community Liaison Officer of the National Demining Commission in Moxico Province (CNIDAH), Chili Chicanha  was also present.
”DCA is one out of only two international demining NGOs working in Moxico province and has played a vital part to clear and release land and save lives among the tens of thousands of returnees and resettled Angolans in the Moxico Province. Therefore CNIDAH still desperately requires DCA assistance in Moxico Province,” says Chicanha.

Few actors – huge problem

©Lars Halkjær

And the EU funding through EuropeAid has been welcome.
“Through the EU funds, DCA’s humanitarian mine action program in Angola has given a valuable contribution to more effective mine action, which has brought the province several steps closer to the goal of becoming a mine-free province. DCA believes that it is crucial for clearance activities to continue in Moxico as it is the most mine affected province in Angola and has a limited number of actors dealing with this huge problem,” says Uka.
With the current capacity in the province and in Eastern Angola, it will not be possible to fulfill the Angolan government’s goal of eliminating all high-impacted areas and half the number of medium-impacted areas by 2011. 
“DCA intends to continue its current operations in Eastern Angola and remains firmly committed to providing support to the community as long as funding permits,” says Uka.

Few donors

One of the main challenges in Angola is to attract sufficient funding as many donors argue that Angola should be rich enough to pay for these activities itself. The truth is that Moxico is a very poor province and the government is not doing the necessary clearance work there.
“The fast growing economy of Angola is very unequally distributed as the western part and especially Luanda has experienced the bulk of development. In Moxico province the infrastructure is still very poor, the exposure to diseases still persists and the province has been subject to neglect as compared to other provinces. So the need for assistance by the international community will still be present in the coming years,” says Uka
DCA has currently 103 employees in Angola. Among other donors are Maersk, Beckgaard and FinnChurchAid.