STEPANAKERT, NKR—HALO Trust has been working to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance in Artsakh (Nagorno Karabagh Republic/NKR) since 2000. Landmine Free Artsakh (LFA), a group of concerned Armenians, has made it its mission to raise awareness and funds to help HALO Trust.
International government funds cannot be used to clear the landmines and unexploded ordnance in parts of Hadrut and Martuni regions. As a result, many villagers in these regions live in dire poverty, unable to farm and prosper.
To help these villagers, the Landmine Free Artsakh committee organized a clothing drive and in June, a member of the committee, Meline Melconian Marachelian, with the help of the local staff of the HALO Trust, distributed much needed goods to the villagers in the landmine affected regions.
The distribution took place in Norashen village, benefiting 12 families and 45 individuals.
“HALO is grateful for the support of LFA and delighted that it is providing other assistance to impoverished families living with landmines in Karabagh. We are delighted to have been able to help with the distribution of clothing and we look forward to working together to free Karabagh of landmines by 2020,” Regional Director for the HALO Trust Andrew Moore said.
After the recent fighting between Artsakh and Azerbaijan in April, the HALO Trust has assisted Artsakh’s Emergency Situations Service to destroy unexploded submunitions, while continuing with its work to clear all known landmines in Artsakh by 2020.
The goal of having a landmine free Artsakh is now within reach. The HALO Trust has a pledge of $4 million in matching funds from an anonymous U.S.-based foundation. This will provide half of the $8 million required to clear all of the remaining minefields outside of the traditional Soviet-era boundary by 2020. For more information and to donate, visit www.landminefreeartsakh.com.