STEPANAKERT (Armenpress)-The clearing of all the land mines in Karabakh will take between 5 to 6 years, according to Valon Kumov, the outgoing director of Halo Trust, a British NGO that has been helping local authorities remove mines left over from the Karabakh War.
Nagorno-Karabakh Prime minister Aram Harutunian met Monday with Kumnov and his replacement Patrick Thomson to commend the organization for its role in raising the safety of the local population and to discuss its future goals and in Karabakh.
Kumnov served as Executive Director for Halo for three years, helping local authorities their de-mining activities.
Thomson informed the Prime Minister that the organization’s mine clearing personnel will increase to 280 people.
Halo is the only NGO engaged in removing landmines and unexploded ordinances from civilian areas in Karabakh. As a non-governmental organization, Halo relies solely on fundraising and donations to continue its mission of surveying the land and mapping the hazardous areas, training locals on how to handle the explosives, and removing mines.
In other news, ARFYOC ‘Simon Zavarian’ Toronto Chapter has announced it will be organizing a fundraising campaign throughout 2008 to help Halo Trust clear landmines in Karabakh. They have currently established a donations page for Halo through the popular social networking utility, Facebook. Donations can be made by visiting the following link: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/view_cause/59132
The Julia Burke Foundation from Walnut Creek, California, has also pledged to match dollar-for-dollar funds HALO raises between 2007 and 2009 up to $400,000.