01 Oct 2014

MAG - 'I Knew There Were Landmines There, But I Had To Get My Sheep Back'

MAG helps people like Khurshid, pictured here taking a break from working on land that was until recently a minefield. Khurshid stood on a landmine just a few metres from where he is photographed in northern Iraq. This is his story...
"In January 2010, I was looking after my sheep and some of them ran into the minefield on my land. I knew there were mines there, but I had to get my sheep back. "As I moved my right leg, my left leg exploded and I was blown into the air. After a while, I stood up and noticed one leg was much shorter than the other.
"I guess I was in shock. People came to help and I was taken to hospital where they cut off my leg. It was very painful."Nobody had been able to use the land here until MAG came. Many people have been injured. I was lucky to just lose a leg. Others have not been so fortunate here.
"I was so stressed that someone else would stand on one here.
"We were so happy to see MAG. It was an amazing thought that we would be able to use our land again.
"Now I have my life back and I can support my family. We are not afraid any more.
"After my accident, I stopped keeping sheep. Now I have 60 and I also have my first wheat harvest since 1987 – this is all thanks to MAG.
"Before, there were thousands of landmines, planted by Saddam, all the way to the next village. Now they are gone, and all you can see is wheat, vegetables and sheep."
MAG finished making the land safe around Khurshid's village – called Farqan and located in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq – in 2013. In total, MAG helped 151,043 men, women and children in Iraq last year.
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