“When a person steps on a buried anti-personnel mine, the detonation is likely to rip off one or both of his or her legs and drive soil, grass, gravel, metal and plastic fragments of the mine casing, pieces of shoe and shattered bone up into the muscles and lower parts of the body. If it explodes while being handled, a mine can blow off fingers, hands, arms, and injure parts of the face, abdomen and chest.”

These are the very real and horrific injuries caused by land mines and explosive remnants of war as described by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The ICRC are dedicated to a mine action plan in the hope of reducing land mine and explosive remnants of war. New Zealand Red Cross support them in this effort with a focus on rehabilitation providing funding to the Special Fund for the Disabled (SFD) annually, this year contributing just over $130,000.

New Zealand Red Cross International Operations and Emergencies Manager Andrew McKie explains that any support New Zealand Red Cross gives to the ICRC to aid this course is very much appreciated and has a real impact.

“Land mines are the legacy of conflicts many decades ago and will continue to be a threat for decades to come, those who are most affected are those who are generally most vulnerable in any case,” says McKie.

For the last six years New Zealand Red Cross has provided funds to this cause through the SFD project for two reasons. Firstly, funds can be allocated to a specific country in need, enabling New Zealand Red Cross to see the affect their contribution is having. Secondly, they believe rehabilitation is arguably the most important aspect of mine action.

New Zealand Red Cross International Programmes Manager Glen Rose explains, “although mine action is composed of three main actions the first two are preventative work which is core ICRC funded. Instead we choose to focus on what happens after the mine has exploded, helping victims to rehabilitate and, as the Special Fund for the Disabled says, ‘walk and work again’.”