Prince Harry tour inspires UK to give Zimbabwe £2,000,000 to clear landmines

The government will give Zimbabwe up to £2 million to help efforts to remove landmines from the country after Prince Harry raised awareness on his recent tour of southern Africa.

The Duke of Sussex followed in his mother’s footsteps to raise awareness of the issue in Angola. Harry donned body armour and a protective visor to detonate a landmine in almost the exact same spot that Princess Diana visited 22 years ago.

In a scene mirroring his mother, he then took a walk through a partially cleared minefield to witness the legacy of her work to eliminate the bombs. The prince wanted to highlight the ongoing threat of the munitions in Angola, the same nation Diana visited in 1997 to urge the world to ban the weapons.

Today, international development secretary Alok Sharma said the government will match public donations to the Halo Trust’s Zimbabwe Appeal, up to £2 million.

ANGOLA - JANUARY 05: Diana, Princess of Wales wearing protective body armour and a visor visits a landmine minefield being cleared by the charity Halo in Huambo, Angola (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
Harry’s mother Diana, Princess of Wales, in a near identical picture during her visit with the Halo Trust in 1997 (Picture: PA)

Mr Sharma said: ‘Landmines are indiscriminate weapons of war that maim and kill innocent men, women and children.

‘Their devastation lasts long after conflict has ended.’ The Halo Trust aims to clear 105,600 square metres of land in Zimbabwe in a year which, the charity said, will help more than 3,000 people get access to safe land which is vital for producing food and creating jobs.

James Cowan, of Halo, added: ‘We will clear twice as many minefields and help twice as many people thanks to this new support.’ In a speech in Angola, Harry praised the clearing efforts of the trust as helping the community to ‘find peace’. He said: ‘Landmines are an unhealed scar of war.

By clearing the landmines we can help this community find peace, and with peace comes opportunity.

epa07872742 (FILE) - Britain's Princess Diana (R), wearing a heavy duty protection vest and face shield, accompanied by a mine clearing expert of the Halo Trust during her visit to the minefields in the high plateaux near Huambo, Angola, 15 January 1997 (reissued 27 September 2019). Diana's son, Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, and his wife Meghan the Duchess of Sussex, are currently on an official visit to Angola. EPA/ANTONIO COTRIM
Princess Diana visited the minefields in Angola 22 years before her son followed in her footsteps (Picture: PA)

‘Additionally, we can protect the diverse and unique wildlife that relies on the beautiful Kuito river that I slept beside last night. ‘That river and those wildlife are your natural assets and, if looked after, will bring you unlimited opportunities in the conservation-led economy.

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‘It is fitting that this project starts in Dirico, at the convergence of the two rivers that flow from Angola’s islands down to the Okavango Delta. ‘These two rivers provide water and life to over a million people downstream and an essential and incredibly delicate habitat for an abundance of wildlife.

‘Just as these rivers extend for miles, so must this project extend far beyond Dirico. ‘Outside the national parks, large parts of this crucial watershed also need to be cleared of land mines. ‘Clearing the full watershed will take an international effort.

Everyone who recognises the priceless importance of safeguarding Africa’s most intact natural landscape should commit fully to this mission.’

Source: The Metro