* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
On the morning of 10 February, nine vehicles carrying people on their way to search for gold in northern Chad mistakenly entered an unmarked minefield in Wour.
Two vehicles drove over anti-personnel landmines causing explosions that, while not life-threatening to those inside, were enough to halt the vehicles.
Drivers and passengers got out to see what had happened. Tragically, they walked on other anti-personnel mines. Four people were killed on the spot, while a fifth died during evacuation to the clinic, and a further 15 were injured.
The survivors, some of whom are pictured above, were too frightened to help those badly injured, for fear that they would walk on mines too, but one was able to use a mobile phone to call Chad’s National Demining Centre (NDC) for help.
The NDC then contacted MAG’s base in Bardai and a MAG-NDC team emergency response team, including two medical staff and carrying two tanks each holding 200 litres of water, set off on the 10-hour drive to the accident site.
On arrival the next morning, the team helped those survivors who were waiting their turn to be taken by ambulance to a clinic in the town of Zouar two hours away.
The team also cleared five landmines, removed two vehicles trapped in the minefield, and placed warning signs around the area.
The Government mobilised a plane that day to take the injured people to the capital city, Ndjamena, for further medical attention.
For more on MAG”s work in Chad and around the world, please go to www.maginternational.org.