The United States supports the clearance of explosive remnants of war in Lebanon. The State Department's office of Weapons Removal and Abatement has awarded $2,000 to the Mines Advisory Group, or MAG, as part of a 2-to-1 matching grant for sub-munitions clearance in Lebanon with the American Task Force for Lebanon, which raised $100,000 in private donations in September.
Since August 2006, the United Nations reports that there have been 44 fatalities and nearly 300 injuries from explosive remnants of war in Lebanon. More than half of the land contaminated by explosive remnants of war in the August 2006 conflict between Hezbollah and Israel has already been cleared by MAG and other demining organizations. This is thanks to generous donors, including the American Task Force for Lebanon, or ATFL, and the United States government. The grant provided by the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement and the funds raised by the ATFL supported Battle Area Clearance operations by 6 MAG mine action teams for over a month. These teams cleared more than 112,000 square meters of land.
The American Task Force for Lebanon is a nonprofit organization comprised primarily of dedicated Americans of Lebanese heritage and others who share a common interest in Lebanon. Mines Advisory Group is a humanitarian organization that clears remnants of conflict to benefit communities worldwide.
"Public-private partnership between civil society organizations such as ATFL and the Department of State can leverage private contributions and increase funding to clean up all types of explosive hazards remaining from past conflicts," says Andrew Shapiro, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs.
The United States is the world's leading provider of financial and technical assistance for humanitarian mine action. Since 1998, the U.S. has invested more than $42 million in humanitarian mine action in Lebanon, part of a total $1.8 billion in conventional weapons destruction assistance in more than eighty countries worldwide. Such support has contributed toward a dramatic global reduction in casualties from landmines and other explosive remnants of war. This total investment will grow as the United States continues to address the problem of surplus weapons and munitions.