Riyadh (UNA-OIC) – The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) organized a virtual seminar on Sunday in Riyadh entitled “Introducing the danger of Mines and the role of Masam project in Yemen”.
The event was held with the participation of Director of the KSrelief Health and Environmental Aid Department Abdullah bin Saleh Al-Muallem; Director of Masam Project for Clearing Mines in Yemen Osama Al-Qusaibi; Director of the Yemen Executive Mine Action Center Ameen bin Saleh Al-Aqili; Human rights and national security lawyer Irina Tsukerman; and Masam’s Director of Special Operations Christopher Clark.
“Masam project was launched in mid-2018 and continued for six months operating in the liberated areas in Yemen,” Masam’s Director Al-Qusaibi said, adding that 32 mine clearance teams are working on the project, with 450 workers located in Yemen and 30 others working from outside Yemen for logistical support.
He indicated that the teams work according to the “hunt down mines” concept due to the lack of maps showing the locations of these mines.
For his part, Al-Muallem said that the Houthi militia planted more than two million mines in various Yemeni regions. He also noted that the vulnerable groups, namely children, women, and the elderly are the most subjected segment to injury, especially children who are not aware of how dangerous the mines are.
Al-Muallem added that the Houthi militia uses children to plant mines in a clear violation of international laws that prohibit children from being involved in armed conflicts.
The Saudi official stated that KSrelief has designed several projects to help the victims of the mines, including the establishment of four prosthetics centers in the cities of Taiz, Seiyun, Aden, and Marib, as these centers have installed 2,500 high-quality prosthetic limbs.
He indicated that expansion is underway to establish other prosthetics centers, adding that the center is implementing psychological and physical rehabilitation programs for the victims, indicating that the total cost of the Masam project has amounted to more than $100 million.
Meanwhile, Al-Aqili reiterated that the mine problem in Yemen is one of the biggest humanitarian catastrophes caused by the Houthi coup against Yemeni legitimacy. He added that the militia is still planting mines in Yemeni lands in an arbitrary manner.
Al-Aqili pointed out that the mine cleaning teams have to deal with other challenges such as the challenge posed by the change in the climatic conditions which causes relocation of the mines by tens of kilometers. He extended his sincere thanks to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, especially KSrelief for its role in supporting and treating the victims and providing them with prosthetic limbs.
Masam’s Director of Special Operations, Christopher Clark, highlighted that Masam’s team includes specialists working to train field teams to find practical solutions to the mine problem in Yemen, adding that the number of mines in Yemen exceeds the number of mines in any other country in the world.
In turn, lawyer Irina Tsukerman stressed that the Houthi militias are planting large numbers of mines in various regions of Yemen. She urged the media to shed more light on this issue and highlight the efforts of the Masam team in mine clearance and the risks they face while doing their job.