Australia helps Afghanistan to clear lands from mine: FM
Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said on Monday that due to a four-year 20.2 million U.S. dollars Australian investment, Afghanistan farmers have been handed more land free of mine, Xinhua reported.
Monday is International Day for Mine Awareness.
While the war-torn country is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world, Rudd said since 2009 Australia's support in Afghanistan has cleared 800,000 square meters of land, educated more than 6,000 people in avoiding mines and trained 20 physiotherapists to deliver rehabilitation services.
"Landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war continue to maim and kill thousands of innocent civilians globally, compounding poverty and destroying futures," Rudd said in a statement released on Monday.
Rudd said the four-year 20.2 million U.S. dollars investment in Afghanistan is Australia's largest mine activity and will eventually clear more than 7.8 million square meters of land.
"As a long-standing supporter of mine action, Australians can be justifiably proud of the results of our global mine action efforts," he said.
The investment in Afghanistan forms part of the Australian government's 101 million U.S. dollars Mine Action Strategy, announced in November 2009.
In addition to mine clearance, including more than five million square meters in Laos and over 32 million square meters of land in Cambodia, Australian contributions over the past decade have provided prostheses, wheelchairs, rehabilitation and other support, giving thousands of landmine survivors new opportunities to work and participate in their communities.