Today, 110 million landmines can be found in more than 60 countries across four continents, putting more than 900 million people at risk of being injured or killed. Despite being deployed for military purposes, up to 80% of landmine casualties are civilians, with thousands killed every year. The presence of landmines not only poses a serious risk of physical harm and psychological trauma, but also stifles the long-term social and economic redevelopment of entire regions, isolating locals from schools, hospitals and other basic necessities.
Despite the progress that has been made in the past decades, landmines and explosives remnants of war still have devastating effects on many local communities. Along with direct casualties among civilians, landmines cause lasting psychological trauma and impede long-term social and economic re-developmental following conflict. The technologies used to clear mines have barely changed over the past 20 to 30 years. Techniques used are dangerous, slow and require lots of manpower. Using current technologies, full detection and clearance of all landmines across the world would take over 1100 years. At Mine Kafon Lab, our research and development team seeks to blend creative and technical ideas to provide new solutions to this global problem. Our mission is to develop a radical solution based on the combination of a cloud-based mapping platform and an airborne detection system. Our Mine Kafon Drones are estimated to be up to 20 times faster and 200 times cheaper than traditional demining technologies, along with being completely safe due to the indirect involvement of humans in the detection process.
Economically, the presence of landmines makes many properties unusable, blocking the access to homes, roads, health facilities, schools, markets and other essential service providers, which results in an accentuated stagnation of local economies. By denying safe access to farming and irrigation, landmines progressively lead to increased food insecurity. The removal of landmines would thus represent the lifting of a major obstacle in the way of economic re-integration of the affected areas. Not only would the absence of these remnants of war restore a normal economic activity and social order, but it would also create long-term economic opportunities. For instance, many of the countries plagued by such problems have rather rich deposits of rare elements such as iron ore, copper, gold and lithium. The sustainable exploitation of such valuable resources could provide a boost to local and national economies, creating jobs and bettering the affluence of local communities.
With the Mine Kafon Drones, we can save thousands of lives and determine a lasting positive effect on countless communities around the world. If widely used, the MKD system could clear every landmine in the world within only 10 years. In areas plagued by landmines, the inhabitants of such territories will shortly after no longer have to worry about the horrors associated with these remnants of war. And it is not only them that will be able to be reintegrated in the larger communities from which they had been separated – their offspring will grow up and flourish in safe environments, without having to suffer the hardships they endured.
“Landmines are among the most barbaric weapons of war, because they continue to kill and maim innocent people long after the war itself has ended. Also, fear of them keeps people off the land, and thus prevents them from growing food.”
“Millions of people in nearly 80 countries still live in fear of landmines and explosive remnants of war, which take an unacceptable toll on lives and limbs, and people’s livelihoods.”
“I just couldn’t stop thinking about what landmines are doing to people here. I told people – my friends – about it, but it was just not enough. I knew I had to do more.”
“When a war is over I think it’s a cowardly thing to leave the war behind you in minefields that hit women and children and the most vulnerable. Imagine the war is finished and you go to work and there are snipers shooting at you.”
“The landmine cannot tell the difference between a soldier or a civilian – a woman, a child, a grandmother going out to collect firewood to make the family meal… once peace is declared the landmine does not recognize that peace. The landmine is eternally prepared to take victims”.
“A mine-free world does not need to be a dream – together, we can make it a reality.”
“It’s hard to see how anyone can fail to care about innocent children and animals being blown up by landmines.”
“It’s angering that not everybody has signed this treaty to ban landmines. It’s disgusting, it really is, because it is fact that (mines) hurt a high percentage of civilians. They’re not effective in any other real way. They’ve enough weapons for war”.