From once living in fear, the market county of Ariath is finally experiencing some relief. Clearance work currently being conducted by TDI Multi-Task teams in the area is bringing about positive change to the local community. Since the clearance started, the mood of the community has changed with the belief that that this county’s future will no longer be tainted with the threat of landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO).
During South Sudan’s civil war, Ariath was used as a military base, dedicated to protecting and facilitating the movement of trains along the now disused railway and subsequently, contamination is extensive in this area, resulting in many mine-related incidents.
For the people of Ariath, fear of the land was the norm. Agriculture, cattle herding and free movement were limited hence little development took place. Without mine awareness and landmine clearance, Ariath’s communities would continue to remain at risk.
In 2018, TDI were tasked to conduct Manual Mine Clearance in an area near the school in Ariath where accidents had occurred involving a village elder and young boy. The residents have since embraced the clearance work conducted by TDI. They aim to develop the land once the explosive remnants of war (ERW) have been removed. An interview with the county Commissioner and school headmaster reinforced the welcome TDI received; “the presence of TDI will be advantageous to the future of the community as well as the safety of its residents.”
After experiencing such suffering, mine awareness activities with TDI teams has become a part of daily life in the Ariath communities. By becoming more aware of these objects, along with the clearance efforts, residents can look forward to a safer future in their county.