“There’s always a risk”

Marcia Hamzat has a dangerous job: she clears unexploded ordnance and sometimes helps fields blossom again.

I can very well remember my first assignment for Deutsche Minenräumer (Demira) in December 2004. At the end of 2004 I had just completed my university degree in political sciences. I happened to be in India when I heard about the terrible tsunami in the Indian Ocean. I packed my things and flew to Sri Lanka. What I saw there was terrible. Nevertheless, I said to myself: you’ve got two hands, now you have to use them to help people. In the Arugam Bay region I volunteered to help members of Demira provide medical care. Back in Germany, I then applied to Demira and was accepted. Demira fulfils two major tasks: providing medical aid and clearing mines and ordnance. I completed a training course in mine and ordnance clearance and took part in anti-kidnapping exercises and other security training programmes. Today I’m responsible for the planning, execution and follow-up of international projects. In the field of medical care, for example, I look after logistics or the security of my medical colleagues. I’ve worked for Demira around the world for eleven years now. From 2012 to 2014, I was in Libya. In two years we cleared over 80 tonnes of munitions. I’ve also been deployed in Angola and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Of course, there’s always a risk. Nevertheless, we work with great professionalism and have the best equipment and training. Sometimes, after many years, we drive over a field that was once full of landmines. Today it feeds people. That is the fruit of our labour.” ▪