GCS supporting humanitarian demining in Colombia

Colombia’s problem with landmines and other Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) is the result of more than fifty years of conflict with illegal armed groups. As of July 2018, Descontamina Colombia reported that anti-personnel mines had claimed 11,615 victims between 1990 and 31 July 2018. The National Mine Action database indicates that 30 out of Colombia’s 32 departments are mine/ERW contaminated. Survey and clearance operations in Colombia have found that the contamination consists primarily of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), often acting like standard anti-personnel mines, planted along roads and footpaths, schools and homes, and other infrastructure. Colombia’s clearance output increased in 2017 as did the demining capacity within the country, with HALO Trust, Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), Humanity & Inclusion (HI) and the Campaña Colombiana Contra Minas (CCCM) all conducting humanitarian demining.

An operator from HI being trained on the remote-controlled GCS-100 platform

An operator from HI being trained on the remote-controlled GCS-100 platform

Team behind GCS helping in Colombia for the last ten years

GCS has been active in Colombia supporting the Colombian National Army and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with their efforts against the deadly weapons. The team behind Global Clearance Solutions (GCS) has been providing mechanical assets, training and maintenance support in Colombia for more than ten years.

Humanity & Inclusion (HI) selects GCS solution for its clearance tasks

HI began with humanitarian demining in Colombia in 2017. They currently conduct clearance using only manual demining, which is very dangerous, demands a lot of human resources and is very time consuming. To increase the overall safety and efficiency of clearance operations, HI was looking for a mechanical solution that is versatile, compact, easy to use, and suitable for the demanding environment of Colombia.

GCS demonstrated the GCS-100 system with the tiller attachment to HI in May 2018, and HI’s representatives were able to identify the benefits of the GCS-100 platform: it’s very low fuel consumption, as well as ease of transport, logistics and maintenance. Based on these findings, HI decided to utilize this asset to enhance their productivity on a project in San Vicente del Caguán, in the Department of Caquetá. The project includes three weeks training for operators on the GCS-100 machine, and an additional three months of mechanical operations with the GCS-100 machine.

For the project in San Vicente del Caguán, GCS is providing all the support equipment (i.e. trailer, workshop, spare parts, etc.) to render the operations effective. GCS is also providing an experienced Field Technician (FT) who has conducted a 3-week training course for HI’s operators and mechanics and will provide daily service and maintenance support during the three months of mechanical operations.

San Vicente del Caguán is the third municipality with the highest number of MAP / UXO victims in Colombia (261 between 1990 and August 2017), and with a very high estimated pollution (842 registered IMSMA events). The economy of the municipality revolves mainly around livestock, agriculture (banana, cassava, beans, coffee, pineapple, etc.) and the extraction of wood. However, the presence of explosive devices hinders the development of these activities. Through a comprehensive action against antipersonnel mines, HI intends to improve security and allow the socioeconomic development of vulnerable rural populations and victims of MAP / UXO in this municipality.

The overall goal of the project in San Vicente del Caguán, Department of Caquetá, is to improve security and allow the socioeconomic development of rural communities and victims of MAP / UXO. A specific goal of the project is to allow secure access to land through non-technical demining and demining activities for productive use and socio-economic development.