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800 square metres a day

By 1st Lt. Kristoffer Egeberg
First published in
SFOR Informer#113, May 16, 2001

Using mine-detecting dogs increases the efficiency of de-mining considerably.

Podvenica - Combining flails, manual de-miners and dogs (integrated de-mining) in the Armed Forces in BiH is something SFOR has worked for in co-operation with the armies themselves, contributing countries and contracted non-governmental organizations. Speeding up the process is essential for the return of displaced persons and refugees as well as for the economic stabilisation by clearing valuable farmland.
"The most important is that we now know that the integrated de-mining process works. This is really the first season to test it out, as the first trained dogs now are working in minefields," said Lt. Col. David Jones (UK), SFOR chief countermines and Explosive Ordnance Disposal.
East of Mostar, in Podvenica, the Federation army is successfully making use of their four-legged sappers. The two dogs clear between 800 and 900 square metres a day, something a manual team would need 20 days to do.
"Since March 19, 30,000 square metres has been cleared in this field. Ironically, the good weather causes some problems, as the dogs can't work when the temperature is over 30 degrees Celsius. Therefore we start at five o'clock in the morning to avoid the worst heat," said German mine-monitor Warrant Officer 2 Michael Breuer.
Human de-miners are not allowed to work longer than six hours a day. Concentration is of paramount importance when you work in a mine-contaminated environment.
Last year the Armed Forces in BiH cleared 800,000 square metres of mines. With the mine-detecting dogs in service, it is hoped that 3,000,000 square metres will be cleared this year.

Related links:
Engineering - Mines and De-mining
SFOR at Work