HALO is a leading British charity that is helping to save civilian lives in Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion.
The world has witnessed the indiscriminate use of weapons of war raining down on civilians, cities and streets. Families in Ukraine have already endured eight years of conflict, following Russia’s annexation of the Crimea Peninsular in 2014 and the 2014-2015 invasion of Donbass.
HALO has worked in eastern Ukraine since 2016, clearing the deadly explosives left behind following the 2014-2015 invasion. HALO has 427 Ukrainian staff who have been working tirelessly to save lives.
For families left homeless by the conflict, or sheltering in basements and cellars, as cities including Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol come under siege, there are constant dangers. Thousands of unexploded items litter roofs, streets and gardens.
In response HALO has been providing emergency risk education using social media to reach Ukrainian families with vital messaging about the dangers of unexploded bombs and what to avoid. The messaging has been seen by over 14.2 million so far. They are also working with local media outlets in Ukraine in order to reach more people.
HALO staff on the ground include trauma first aiders, equipped and ready to attend to injured civilians and provide assistance at local hospitals.
Having faced setbacks in their campaign, Russia has employed more indiscriminate tactics. They have killed more civilians and will damage even more of the country. The use of cluster bombs in Ukraine has also been confirmed —they scatter small munitions over wide area, which, combined with their high failure rate, makes them a lethal threat to local people, especially curious children.
In Ukraine has the local knowledge and expertise to meet the unfolding humanitarian emergency and, as conditions allow, to clear the unexploded munitions that threaten lives and prevent vital aid reaching those in need.
As a geopolitical and devastating humanitarian crisis unfolds in Ukraine, the HALO Trust is partnering with Esri, the global leader in location intelligence, to mobilise an immediate humanitarian response.
Currently, over 10 million Ukrainians have been displaced by the war and many are forced to move across a landscape littered with unexploded rockets, bombs, and landmines. In response, Esri has committed its cutting-edge geographic information system (GIS) software resources, expertise, and staffing in support of HALO’s mission in Ukraine.
The organisations’ collaboration will allow them to map areas contaminated with explosives so HALO can remove the hazards when conditions allow. This will provide safe land to house displaced families and clear routes for humanitarian aid to reach those in desperate need. HALO is already using GIS to map the heaviest conflict zones, and our partnership will support planning for future clearance operations.
As experts in their field, HALO is the world’s largest humanitarian landmine clearance and weapons disposal organisation, clearing over 13.9 million landmines and unexploded ordinance across 28 countries torn apart by conflict. In addition to technical expertise, HALO staff provide safety education for those in contaminated areas to avoid life-changing injuries and death, emergency medical aid, and humanitarian support for displaced persons as they face conflict, and in many cases are forced to flee their homes.
Esri has collaborated with HALO since 2008 helping to map war-ravaged regions where specific locational awareness of landmines and other hazards is necessary to protect the lives of people in those areas.
Ukraine is a food producer of world importance and a major exporter of cereals and grains. It is absolutely vital to help Ukraine’s farmers to return to work safely in the fields so that agricultural production can be rebuilt safely. HALO’s role in the clearance of fields for the purpose cannot be underestimated. It will help stave off global famine.
As cities across Ukraine continue to come under devastating bombardment, two of HALO’s staff working on the ground to keep families safe shared their experiences with Prince Harry.
Olesia and Maryna both work full-time for HALO Ukraine, alongside 430 other men and women. Speaking virtually with the Duke, Olesia and Maryna described how their lives were turned upside down on 24th February when the conflict began, and the living nightmare of the ensuing days as the bombs and shelling escalated.
Despite both having to flee their homes, they spoke of their determination to continue working and how they are helping people keep safe from explosives.
HALO needs your support now to keep families in Ukraine safe.
As cities come under devastating siege, millions of people are fleeing their homes or are trapped in cellars and bomb shelters. UNHCR estimates 12 million people need humanitarian assistance.Hospitals and schools are being hit. There are reports of landmines on humanitarian corridors and a lethal tide of unexploded devices now litters the streets.
HALO is on the ground working to keep families safe.
- HALO is teaching children in bomb shelters how to stay safe from deadly explosives
- HALO distributing vital medical supplies
- HALO is providing emergency shelter to families forced to flee the fighting
- HALO is tracking where explosives fall and preparing to clear the rockets and bombs when conditions allow