cisrExchange · 25.1-Valencia-Aguirre

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the mine action sector globally. In this article, the authors look at how the pandemic has affected Colombia, specifically concentrating on how the pandemic has affected humanitarian demining (HD)-related activities. To do so, the Swiss Foundation for Demining (FSD) compared key HD indicators from 2019 to 2020 in order to evaluate the performance of HD operations in Colombia, and carried out an assessment among HD organizations (HDOs) operating in-country through the Quick Impact Survey on COVID-19 Impact on Humanitarian Operations. Moreover, the authors provide an example of community service activities and projects implemented by organizations during the pandemic. The results showed that between 2019 and 2020, there was a 20 percent decrease in the reported number of total square meters cleared in Colombia, as well as a reduction in the number of non-technical survey (NTS) tasks and clearance operations, explosive ordnance risk education (EORE) beneficiaries, and activities completed. Despite numerous lockdowns, the number of victims unfortunately increased by 45 percent (from 114 to 166 victims). Regarding fieldwork, all organizations reported a temporary suspension of operations (from two to six months in total), with clearance activities being the most affected. However, the great majority of organizations have re-directed a portion of funds to provide emergency humanitarian aid (food, hygiene kits, etc.) to the most vulnerable communities affected by the pandemic.

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