Egypt, the European Union, and the United Nations Development Programme has inaugurated Friday the first artificial limbs centre in Marsa Matruh governorate, 524 km (325.6 miles) north west of Cairo.
The centre, the first of its kind in this area, was built at total cost of $200,000 aimed to support and rehabilitate the victims of landmines in the governorate and its neighboring areas.
It is part of the “Support to the North West Coast Development Plan and Relevant Mine Action” project funded by the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr, Reinhold Brender, Chargé d’Affaires of European Union Delegation to Egypt, UNDP Resident Representative El-Mostafa Benlamlih, and Sherry Carlin, Mission Director for Egypt for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have inaugurated the new centre.
“The project (the centre) widely opens the development prospects at the North West Coast. It offers a better life to the Matrouh inhabitants, rehabilitate and integrate victims in their communities which directly contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Egypt.” UNDP Resident Representative El-Mostafa Benlamlih said.
The opening of the center is one of the major accomplishments of the second phase of “Support to the North West Coast Development Plan and Relevant Mine Action” project, funded by the EU with a contribution of 4.7 million euros.
The project, which started in 2014, supports the development of the North West Coast and Inland Desert and addresses the problem of mine casualties.
On the sideline of the inauguration ceremony, Nasr, Brender, and Benlamlih co-hosted an event entitled “Demining for Development in North-West Coast: A Successful Partnership”.
“The battles of El Alamein played a decisive part in the course of the Second World War. Yet, to this date, Egypt continues to struggle with the consequences of unexploded ordnance remaining in this area of the country.” said Reinhold Brender, Chargé d’Affaires of the European Union Delegation to Egypt.
“Over the years, EU Member States who participated in the battle have helped with demining. This programme is the first direct contribution of the European Union itself to this effort. We are very pleased to be a part of it, and to contribute to improving the lives of the inhabitants of Egypt’s North West Coast.” Brender added.
The project has successfully managed to enhance the mine clearance operations in the North West Coast through the provision of over 2.5 million euros worth of demining equipment. This equipment helped increase the cleared area to more than 480 square kilometres, liberating areas of idle land from the clutches of mine contamination.
The project has also supported the victims of land mines and their families through physical rehabilitation and economic empowerment to improve their livelihoods. More than 160,000 individuals benefited from the awareness campaigns.