BEIRUT: A campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of landmines was launched Friday in the southern Lebanese border town of Kfar Kila. Students from schools in the town participated in a 1-kilometer race that was organized as a part of the “Run for Lebanon, Free from Landmines” campaign.
The race provided the Lebanese Army an opportunity to explain to hundreds of students the dangers of mines and cluster bombs.
“This activity comes at the beginning of the spring season where people go out and enjoy nature ... and is geared toward children between the ages of 12 and 15,” said Maj. Ali Makki, media officer of the Army’s Mine Action Center (LMAC), which organized the event along with the National Steering Committee for Mine Risk Education.
Makki said the campaign was part of a series of activities leading up to the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, held annually on April 4.
He appealed to Lebanese citizens not to remove the banners that warn of the presence of bombs or mines, as they are there to save lives.
Randa Assi Berri, sponsor of the event and the wife of Speaker Nabih Berri, called on the Lebanese government to ensure that all the necessary financial, technical and international support is given to the Army and LMAC so they can complete their mission to clear all Lebanese territory from landmines and cluster bombs.
Israel dropped about 4 million submunition over southern Lebanon during the 2006 war, a quarter of which did not detonate and continue to maim and kill people.
Undetonated landmines in Lebanon killed 933 people and injured a further 2,780 people between 1975 and 2012, according to the Mines Advisory Group, a British NGO.
Israel had also left around 550,000 mines embedded across southern Lebanon when it withdrew from the country in May 2000, according to LMAC. - Writing by Ghada Alsharif