STEPANAKERT — HALO Trust has been working to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance in Artsakh since 2000. Since 2012, Landmine Free Artsakh, a group of concerned Armenians, has made it its mission to raise awareness and funds to help the 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 haven’t been able to farm and prosper and as a consequence they live in poverty.

To help these villagers, the Landmine Free Artsakh committee, organized a clothing drive and in June of 2016, a member of the committee – Meline Melconian Marachelian, with the help of the local staff of the HALO Trust distributed the much needed goods to the villagers in landmine affected regions of Hadrut and Matruni.

The distribution took place in Norashen village benefiting 12 families and 45 individuals, Govshatly village benefiting four families and 15 individuals and Jivanni village benefiting 38 families and 198 individuals.

Regional Director for the HALO Trust, Andrew Moore said, “HALO is grateful for the support of LFA and delighted that it is providing other assistance to impoverished families living with landmines in Karabakh. We are delighted to have been able to help with the distribution of clothing and we look forward to working together to free Karabakh of landmines by 2020.”

After the recent fighting between Artsakh and Azerbaijan in April, the HALO Trust has assisted Artsakh’s Emergency Situations Service to destroy unexploded sub munitions 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 US-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, if we raise the matching funds. We hope every Armenian will join in donating matching funds so that we may all see a landmine free Artsakh! For more information and to donate, please visit www.landminefreeartsakh.com.

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