BLOM BANK Headquarters, April 4, 2019 – Under the patronage and with the presence of the Army Commander, General Joseph Aoun, the Lebanon Mine Action Center affiliated with the Lebanese Army launched the national mine risk education (MRE) awareness campaign on mines, cluster munitions and unexploded ordnance; in partnership with BLOM BANK and in collaboration with the National Steering Committee for Mine Awareness. This campaign which will be deployed throughout all the Lebanese regions is dubbed “Promoting Safety and Development” and was launched in a special event which will be held at the Regional School for Humanitarian Demining in Lebanon located in the Said Khatib Barracks in Hammana on the 4th of April, which coincides with the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
The launching ceremony included several speeches made by key personalities namely the Head of the National Steering Committee for Mine Awareness, Dr. Habouba Aoun who said: “If it weren’t for the donors, mine action wouldn’t have progressed and the surface of safe lands and homes wouldn’t have increased”. Director of the Lebanon Mine Action Center, Brigadier General Jihad Al-Bachaalani also spoke at the event highlighting: “I would like to thank all the countries and the stakeholders who strived to support the program of Lebanon Mine Action Center throughout the years, namely the private sector represented by BLOM BANK”. General Al Bachaalani added: “This special collaboration allowed us to have higher aspirations; and with higher aspirations come bigger challenges; the most important of which is providing the support needed to continue the journey we embarked on”. Mr. Saad Azhari, Chairman and General Manager of BLOM BANK, made a speech on this occasion highlighting the importance the Bank allocates to the demining cause as well as the support it offers to the Lebanon Mine Action Center and the Lebanese Army. He said: “BLOM BANK is proud to be the first private sector player to adopt this national cause and to launch an awareness campaign on the dangers of landmines and cluster bombs. This stems from the great importance BLOM BANK gives to Corporate Social Responsibility activities and from our active role in launching “BLOM Giving” program in 2010”. Mr. Saad Azhari added: “As part of our endeavors to provide “Peace of Mind” and under the slogan of “Promoting Safety and Development”, BLOM BANK is offering support to the Regional School for Humanitarian Demining in Lebanon; consequently broadening the scope of “Peace of Mind” we provide to include Lebanon and abroad. This is mainly due to the fact that this regional school provides training in mine clearing to civilians and soldiers alike for the Middle East region in Arabic, English, or French”. The Commander of the Lebanese Army, General Joseph Aoun, and the Minister of Defense, Mr. Elias Abou Saab, were represented at this event by Major General George Shreim who made an intervention on this topic, stressing: “Our main goal for the upcoming period is to collaborate with donor and friendly countries to succeed in clearing more than 46 million SQM of land that are still infested with mines”.
The ceremony was concluded with a presentation about the campaign, its pillars and how it shall contribute to raising awareness about mines, cluster munitions and unexploded ordnance. This campaign will be deployed throughout all the Lebanese regions during the entire month of April aiming to spread awareness about mine action undertaken by the Lebanese Army. These activities comprise the issuing of a briefing pamphlet about the procedures the Army is undertaking to clear mines. Short text messages will be sent to Lebanese cellphones to raise awareness about the dangers of mines and special lectures will be held throughout the Lebanese territory. These planned actions will be accompanied by events such as a Rally Paper, sports competitions, planting of trees for every mine removed, distribution of pamphlets and other.