Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action English  ENG Azeri   AZE

One more Victim of Saloglu

On 19 February 2004 at 6:40 pm a UXO incident happened in Poylu station of Aghstafa district. As a result of the explosion, 57 years old shovelman Mamedov Nasib was killed and 55 years old welder Yagubaliyev Namaz injured. Mamedov Nasib took one unexploded ordnances (UXO) of piled by the residents in some place and brought it to the welder asking him to prepare an excavator spare part. While cutting the UXO, the device went off and its head part got Nasib through his stomach. An injured Namaz Yagubaliyev is currently at home. His both hands have been stitched. The UXOs are originated from an armoury exploded in 1991. Poylu station is located at a distance of 6-8 km from the storehouse. An almost similar incident happened in June last year in Baku. The UXOs in Saloglu pose a threat to safe lives of population on a great distances around the storehouse. Currenly ANAMA 15-men UXO Team operates on the territory surrounding the storehouse. But ANAMA do not have enough technical capacity in place to clear the storehouse itself. Despite the regular ANAMA mine risk education activities, people are trying to use hazardous devices for the purposes to gain some income exposing lives to danger. 16.02.04 ANAMA Warns Despite all ANAMA mine clearance operations, Mine Risk Education activities conducted on regular basis, efforts aimed to prevent mine incidents in contaminated border and frontline districts of Azerbaijan, 18 mine explosions took place in year 2003 which have led to 14 injuries and 14 fatalities. Unfortunately, the year 2004 also began with a hard mine incident. On 14th February 2004, another incident happened in Fizuli district that exceeded all the previous ones by its harm. As a result, a family lost two sons at once. Two brothers, residents of Gazakhlar village, 12 years old Mamedov Elvin and 11 years old Mamedov Elgun, were herding animals when incident happened. It was an antipersonnel mine that went off and took lives of children. ANAMA is not authorized to operate on the area where incident happened. According to the standards, operations can not be conducted on the territories adjoining a ceasefire line. The incident happened in spite of the fact that two MRE sessions were already conducted in 2004 in Gazakhlar village, on 16 January 2004 and the other one 13 February 2004 the day before the incident. MRE session has been conducted for 217 people in total from 502 inhabitants of the village. THE ABOVE MENTIONED FORCES US TO ONE MORE TIME APPLY MASS MEDIA, BORDERLINE DISTRICTS POPULATION, PARENTS AND EXECUTIVE POWERS OF CONTAMINATED AREAS TO PAY MORE ATTENTION TO THE MINE PROBLEM OF AZERBAIJAN, THE PROBLEM THAT CAUSES SUFFERING OF INNOCENT PEOPLE !!! 15.01.04 Former Times under the Mine Detector While undertaking the mine clearance work in Giyamaddinli village of Agjabedi district ANAMA field staff has found an ancient pot containing different items of cultural artifacts of seemingly early period. The items were immediately sent to ANAMA HQs in Baku. Most of them are decorations for women and pieces of metal, probably silver, coins, small animal figurines, very traditional for the area, etc. ANAMA is presently in the process of handing these objects over to appropriate authorities for evaluation and necessary preservation. 10.11.03 Charitable Fund established On 5 November 2003, representatives of ANAMA visited Fizuli district Horadiz settlement within Agency's Mine Victim Assistance Program. Through existing database one of the most vulnerable mine victims was identified and presented a gift comprised of limited contribution made by Mr. Ralf Cwerman, the President of US-based Humpty-Dumpty Institute. In May 2003, Mr. Cwerman visited ANAMA to discuss future prospects on clearance and recovery of former vineyards from mines in Azerbaijan and during a visit he made a personal contribution to support mine victims in Azerbaijan. Initiative was supported by ANAMA staff and Mine Victim Assistance Charitable Fund was established within the Agency open for volunteer contributions of ANAMA employees and outside audience. This money will be used on any immediate needs of mine victims and limited financial support. Media representatives joined ANAMA in the trip to Horadiz where they had an opportunity to observe manual demining operations on the site, performance of mine detection dogs and visited the mine victim. A trip had a good media coverage on local TV and particular emphasis was given to ANAMA Mine Victim support activities. 21.11.03 ANAMA hosts Mine Risk Education (MRE) Training In August 2003, upon invitation by the Cranfield University in UK, the UNDP/ANAMA Chief Technical Advisor, Mr. Lutful Kabir and ANAMA Operations Manager, Mr. Emil Hasanov have presented the 'Azerbaijan Mine Action Programme' to the participants of the UNDP Mine Action Senior Management Course. The participants were senior mine action managers from various countries of the world. At one point after the presentation, the representatives from North Caucasus regions had approached the ANAMA representatives with numerous queries and expressed their keen interest to visit Azerbaijan in order to learn about the MRE programme of ANAMA. Upon request, ANAMA has organized a 'Training cum Exposure Sessions on MRE' for a team of 12 national MRE instructors of Danish Demining Group in Inguschetia, in Baku from 18-21 November, 2003. Subsequently, 4 officials of IMC (International Medical Corps) have joined these sessions. The participants have also spent a day visiting ANAMA Regional Office in Horadiz/Fizuli and acquainted themselves with various aspects ANAMA field operations. Although special emphasis was given on MRE throughout the sessions, the participants were also given substantial knowledge and exposure on ANAMA overall mine action programme outlining the activities of its Operations Department, Regional Office, implementing partners, Information Management, UXO Clearance, MDD Support, Quality Assurance, capacity building, medical support etc. Last day has been devoted to information management of MRE and Mine Victim Data Gathering. Graduation ceremony took place in ANAMA Head office in Baku on 21 November, 2003. Representatives from IMC and UNDP were also present in the ceremony. ANAMA Director Mr. Nazim Ismaylov has distributed the Certificates to the participants and enquired from them about the knowledge they gained during this 4 days training/exposure sessions. The participants thanked ANAMA for organizing the sessions and for the hospitality. ANAMA Press service 18.10.03 ANAMA Staff Members Support Disabled Children ANAMA staff has initiated charity activities through contributing to the public life of Azerbaijan. One disabled children home has been taken under patronage by ANAMA to be provided with various kind of support on regular basis. The Relief Fund has been established by the employees of ANAMA in which they contribute materially and financially. This disabled children home is located in Saray village of Baku and has more than 150 children of different age category. ANAMA staff is committed to continue to support disabled children and everybody is welcome to join these efforts. 03.10.03 US Ambassador praises ANAMA On 2 October 2003, the US Ambassador to Azerbaijan H.E. Mr. Reno Harnish accompanied by his wife Ms. Leslie Harnish visited ANAMA activities in Khanlar district of Azerbaijan. The objective of the visit was to get acquainted with the mine action program in Azerbaijan. He has visited an operations site and observed the deminers at work. H.E. Mr. Harnish has also familiarized himself with the ongoing construction of ANAMA 2nd regional office in Khanlar district which is funded by US and the Government of Azerbaijan. During the visit on the site where NNGO International Eurasia Press Fund (IEPF) currently operates, the Ambassador and his entourage were briefed by IEPF Supervisor on their demining operations including the number of personnel involved in the operations and the MDD supports. The manual clearance and MDD related training were ongoing during his visit. H.E. Mr. Harnish has been invited to push a button on a blast machine to blow up a mine that was found during demining operations. Following the briefing, H.E. Mr. Harnish has been informed on the medical support component of the de-mining operations. The IEPF Paramedic had briefed the Ambassador on duties and responsibilities of medical staff, CASEVAC procedures during demining accidents and related issues. Addressing the deminers in his speech, H.E. Mr. Harnish mentioned the importance of their work and on behalf of US Government expressed his willingness to continue to support the humanitarian demining in Azerbaijan. He emphasized on the benefits that such kind of activities could provide to a country. Series of discussion sessions were also held on Mine Risk Education, MDD support to demining, trainings and other component of ANAMA activities. The visit to the minefield has been concluded with a group photo with representative from ANAMA, IEPF, deminers and MDD handlers. During his visit to ANAMA 2nd Regional office, being constructed in Khanlar district, the Ambassador observed the construction works in progress. He was explained the general layout of the Regional Office and was introduced to the Khanlar district Chief Executive. In his interview to media representatives H.E. Mr. Harnish talked about the mine problems around the world. In this regard he highly appreciated ANAMA activities and emphasized that ANAMA could be presented as a model mine action agency. He underlined the amount of work that yet to be undertaken. H.E. Mr. Reno Harnish also touched upon the funding issues and emphasized that US Government would continue its support to themine action program in Azerbaijan during the coming years. In addition, the Ambassador promised to initiate and encourage the involvement of other donors to support humanitarian mine action activities in Azerbaijan.   03.10.03 ANAMA Provides Access to Water for Saloglu Population On 2 October 2003, the opening ceremony of a 'Spring'- in memory of Mine/UXO victims, took place in Saloglu village of Agstafa district of Azerbaijan. This activity has been implemented within a Mine Risk Education and Mine Victims Support programs of ANAMA. ANAMA started the clearance operations in this region since January 2003. The military ammunition warehouse located in the Agstafa district, consisting of 138 bunkers, was the largest former Soviet warehouse in Transcaucasus. In 1991, as a result of an explosion, thousands of pieces of UXOs were spread over a large area surrounding the warehouse. During its operations, the clearance team found 1078 UXOs in a 1.3 million-sq-m area immediately outside the former warehouse. To date, 87 people injured and 28 of them killed in UXO incidents. In July 2003, ANAMA received a request from the local community sent through the Saloglu village Chief Executive. This request stipulated the severe socio-economic problems that the community is passing through and the absence of appropriate measures to eliminate the problem. For a long time, the community has been suffering from lack of water and the only nearest water source, is located about 10 km away at the neighboring village. ANAMA undertook the project and a 4.5 km water line was laid and a 'Water Spring' constructed. Mr. Nazim Ismaylov, ANAMA Director, Agstafa district Chief Executive, Ms. Debora Netland from USDoS, Mr. John Johnson, RONCO Consulting Corporation, chiefs of Municipality and Administration, village elders, representatives of Police Department, pupils and director of a local school were present at the ceremony. In his opening speech, the Agstafa district Chief Executive Mr. Jumshud Musayev expressed his deep gratitude to the Government of Azerbaijan and ANAMA for an important contribution in the socio-economic development of the village. He also emphasized its benefits to the local population. In addition, he highly appreciated ANAMA efforts in providing clearance operations in Saloglu village. ANAMA Director touched upon the problems Azerbaijan faced today and named the existence of mine/UXO threat. He gave the figures of the mine/UXO victims and expressed his hope for soonest resolution of the problem. He talked about the necessity our combined efforts in support of socio-economic development of different regions. He has also emphasized the support of the US Government in development of ANAMA UXO clearance capacity and UXO disposal operations in Saloglu village. In his speech, a village elder talked about the water problem they had in Saloglu village before construction of the 'spring'. He has expressed his gratitude to ANAMA on behalf of local people. Besides, he came up with yet another big problem that Saloglu population is presently facing. The fact is that their only school is located about 3 km away from their village and the children must walk a long distance often through the UXO contaminated areas. The population is always concern about the well-being of their children. On behalf of all the residents, including pupils - lined up next to him, an old man applied to ANAMA Director to approach the Government of Azerbaijan and international aid organizations to support the construction of school inside their village providing safe schooling for their children. After a series of speeches, ANAMA Director and Ms. Deborah Netland cut the ribbon in front of the spring signifying its commission. Accompanied by applauses, ANAMA Director, Ms. Netland and Agstafa district Chief Executive turned on the taps of the spring. The first one was an old woman who came up to the spring with a big jug and started to fill it up with water with a happiness that was obvious in her face. At the end of the ceremony, a local resident requested ANAMA to clear two UXOs in front of his house. Another request came from a local Police Representative to clear another UXO located in yard of their Police Department. Supervisor of ANAMA UXO clearance Team, operating in Saloglu village, was immediately tasked by ANAMA Director to investigate these two cases. 30.09.03 European Commission handed over equipment to ANAMA On 29 September 2003, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Office in Azerbaijan hosted a ceremony on the handover of transport vehicles and equipment to ANAMA. ANAMA received a number of vehicles, mine detectors, mobile phones, computer, radio equipment, office furniture and medical equipment with a total budget of approximately US$320,000. The equipment has been procured under the "Landmine Impact Survey (LIS) Project in Azerbaijan, funded by European Commission (EC) and executed by UNDP. The LIS project began in late 2002 and is being implemented by the international NGO-Survey Action Center (SAC) and the national NGO-International Eurasia Press Fund (IEPF). ANAMA guided and assisted the team (SAC and IEPF) in implementing the LIS. The main objective of the survey is to provide reliable and standardized data on the socio-economic impact of landmines on communities in Azerbaijan. The equipment will provide a long-term benefit for ANAMA in demining operations conducted in the Fizuli, Agstafa, Khanlar and Agjabadi districts. Some of the equipment will be transferred to the IEPF to support their future demining activities in collaboration with ANAMA. Ambassador of Italy H.E. Ms. Margherita Costa, representing EC, and UN Resident Coordinator, UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Marco Borsotti were also present in the ceremony. During the ceremony Director of ANAMA Mr. Nazim Ismaylov accompanied Ms. Margherita Costa and Mr. Marco Borsotti through a variety of equipment aligned in front of UNDP office. Ten deminers in special protective equipment including mine detectors, procured within the EC funded LIS project, also participated on the ceremony. Mr. Nazim Ismaylov briefed the participants on the necessity and the use of this equipment. He also mentioned that this equipment will allow ANAMA to rapidly expand its demining operations. Upon a request by Ms. Margherita Costa, one of the deminers demonstrated mine detector in action. Mr. Marco Borsotti and Ms. Margherita Costa were invited to look at the Ambulance vehicle with medical equipment and radio station installed. This vehicle was one of the 12 items handed over to ANAMA and IEPF. During the demonstration of this vehicle participants got acquainted with the functions of the medical equipment. Operations assistant of ANAMA established radio connection with operations site in Fizuli region and Mr. Marco Borsotti was provided an opportunity to have a radio talk with an individual in the minefield. 20.09.03 UXO Explosion resulted in physical injuriest On 19 September 2003, a 12 years old boy Garayev Gambay and 16 years old boy Akhundov Parviz were injured as a result of a UXO explosion near Yusifjanli village of Agjebedi district. The incident happened while they were grazing their livestock. Garayev Gambay has lost his forefinger on the left hand and received fragmentation injuries. He is now at home under medical observation. Akhundov Parviz has lost his left hand and received heavy fragmentation injuries. Currently he is in a military hospital at Sarijanli village.   20.09.03 South-East Europe Regional IMSMA Workshop in Baku (September 2003) IMSMA Program developed by Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) in collaboration with Zurich State Technical University, is being used in ANAMA for already 4 years. It is a computer database containing information on Agency activities and having them, through the GIS functionality, reflected on the maps as well. The first version 1.0 has been installed in ANAMA in September 1999. From 1999 the System has been greatly improved. For this period four versions of IMSMA have been developed. At present, Geneva and Zurich developed the 4th version of IMSMA based on recent achievements of information technologies with an important extension towards information management of mine risk education (MRE) activities. Two trainers from Geneva Center and two participants from Albania and Serbia and Montenegro are now at IMSMA Workshop in Baku, which has been organized by GICHD in collaboration with ANAMA and started on 12 September, 2003. Data already stored in ANAMA have been upgraded and new version installed. The first stage of the Workshop for ANAMA managerial staff has been already completed. The second stage is currently ongoing in Fizuli and Khanlar districts and mainly aimed at improving IMSMA reporting skills of field staff, including local NGOs Dayag and IEPF as well.   20.09.03 Yet another Mine…… On 17 September 2003, one live PMN-2 antipersonnel mine has been found during field operations and destroyed by ANAMA specialists with no damages to any nearby structures. Recently, ANAMA field staff has identified 5,862 sqm of mine contaminated land in Giyamadinli village of Aqstafa district. Based on an explicit request from the local authority, ANAMA began its mine action activities in that village. Facts remain that a number of mine incidents happened on this territory earlier. At the end of May 2003, ANAMA's MT&QA Team conducted mine risk education program while they were doing a survey of the same territory. According to the task issued by ANAMA, a team of 7 deminers began the clearance operations from 7th July 2003. Also, in August 2003, ANAMA's MRE Team, together with US EUCOM representatives, conducted MRE program which covered the Giyamadinli village as well. ANAMA emphasizes great importance to the implementation of extensive MRE program. ANAMA considers MRE programme as an indispensable part and parcel of its mine/UXO operations.   19.09.03 A Mine Incident On 18 September 2003, a 17 years old boy - Avaz Hasanov, from Afshar village of Agjebedi district stepped on an Anti-tank mine and died on the spot. The incident took place while he was grazing his livestock on the horseback.