FL group, State Department host event to boost land mine awareness

WASHINGTON: The South Florida Landmine Action Group (SFLAG) teamed with the State Department late last month to turn a Florida park into a mock minefield in an effort to raise awareness of "a tragic after-effect of war."

WASHINGTON: The South Florida Landmine Action Group (SFLAG) teamed with the State Department late last month to turn a Florida park into a mock minefield in an effort to raise awareness of "a tragic after-effect of war."

The demonstration was part of a two-day festival in Coconut Grove, Miami, designed to illustrate the menace posed by land mines that are left unexploded and forgotten following a war. While much has been done internationally to raise awareness of the problem worldwide, SFLAG is hoping to bring attention to such fields in the "American hemisphere."

Lincoln Bloomfield Jr., assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs who also serves as secretary of state for mine action, was the keynote speaker.

SFLAG, which conducts several such demonstrations per year, uses retired mine-detecting dogs to show the public what must be done to "de-mine" a field. Bloomfield presented two mine-detecting dogs to Sri Lanka late last year as a gift from the US.

The State Department's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement gave a major promotional boost to the relatively small affair, notifying journalists worldwide and posting news of the event on their website.

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