Organizations that have been involved in mine clearance work in Lebanon for many years have recently lost their funding, abruptly costing dozens of people their jobs.
The Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) decided to discharge 130 and 60 employees, respectively, after the UK cut funding for both.
MAG has reportedly signed contracts with new employees just months ago, which indicates that the UK’s decision is only very recent.
The exact reason for the surprising development is ambiguous. According to a reported email sent to employees from the director of MAG, it is “a political decision related to the British government’s priorities and strategy.”
MAG is a non-governmental organization that assists people affected by landmines, cluster bombs, and other war remnants. It has been clearing contamination and delivering risk education in Lebanon since 2001.
Its humanitarian program was initially set to conclude in 2025. The NPA has been performing similar tasks in Lebanon since 1982, following the Israeli invasion, and has since established a partnership with MAG in the country.
With their funding gone, their work will be abruptly discontinued in 2021, and nearly 200 people, including founders of the programs in Lebanon, will lose their jobs as a result.