Mine Action

Last updated: 12 November 2018


Treaty status

Mine Ban Treaty

State Party
Article 5 deadline: 1 March 2020
Not on track

Convention on Cluster Munitions


Mine action management

National mine action management actors

National Mine Action Committee (NMAC)
Yemen Mine Action Center (YEMAC), works through Regional Executive Mine Action Branches (REMABs) in Sanaa, Aden, and al-Mukalla (Hadramout governorate)

UN agencies

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Mine action strategic plan

No national strategic plan
UNDP and YEMAC have a cooperation plan for 2017–2020

Operators in 2017


United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Sudan mine action teams as part of the Saudi-led coalition

Extent of contamination as of end 2017


Extent of contamination: massive, but extent not known

New mine contamination in 2017

Yes, extent unknown (see the Mine Ban Policy profile for further information)

Cluster munition remnants

Extent of contamination: heavy, but not known

New cluster munition contamination in 2017

Yes, extent unknown (see the Cluster Munition Ban Policy profile for further information)

Other ERW contamination

Contaminated by other ERW

Land release in 2017


Mined area cleared was not disaggregated from the amount of ERW land cleared
1,737 antipersonnel mines destroyed

Cluster munition remnants

3,245 submunitions destroyed

Other ERW

8.56kmreleased, and 341,175 mines/ERW destroyed (including submunitions)
632 improvised munitions destroyed, data did not identify how many were victim-activated
Clearance results by UAE military engineers was not reported


Landmine and cluster munition remnants

Despite adverse conditions arising from the continued armed conflict, Yemen expanded operations in 2017. However, systematic land release operations were not possible. In addition to poor security, teams are constrained by a lack of training and equipment
Improvements in productivity continued into the first half of 2018

Note: ERW = explosive remnants of war.

Mine Contamination

The Republic of Yemen is contaminated with mines from conflicts in 1962–1969 and 1970–1983, mines that were laid in border areas between North and South Yemen before they unified in 1990, and mines from successive conflicts that erupted since 1994. These and the ongoing conflicts that flared in March 2015 have “changed the extent and complexity of contamination dramatically,” though its full extent is unknown.[1]

Yemen did not submit an Article 7 transparency report in 2018. As of writing, the last report, submitted in 2017, stated that 569 suspected or known mined areas covering 323km2remained and that survey was expected to identify additional contamination.[2] A 2017 progress report by the UNDP observed that “currently, there are very few tangible indicators measuring contamination or impact and what is available is outdated, ad hocand often anecdotal.”[3]

Some of the heaviest mine and ERW contamination is reported in northern governorates bordering Saudi Arabia (al-Jawf and Saada), southern coastal governorates (Abyan, Aden, Lahej, and Taiz) and center-west governorates (Hodeida, Marib, and Sanaa).[4]

Successive conflicts in the past decade have generated multiple reports of mine use. These include the 2010 insurgency in northern Saada governorate led by Abdul Malik al-Houthi[5] and the 2011 insurgency around southern Abyan launched by militants belonging to Ansar al-Sharia, linked to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as well as the war that erupted after March 2015 between Houthi rebels controlling the north of Yemen and the Saudi-led coalition backing President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, based in the south.[6] (See Yemen’s mine ban profile for details.)

Improvised explosive devices (IEDs), including improvised mines

The current conflicts have also resulted in increased contamination from improvised mines, such as devices initiated by a pressure plate or crushed necklace, as well as improvised devices activated remotely or by photo-electric cells. Improvised mines as well as other improvised devices are being laid along roads, inside buildings, and built into house walls, posing a serious hazard to displaced families returning to their property.[7]

YEMAC reported Houthi forces emplaced mines of an improvised nature in northern Saada governorate during the 2006–2009 insurgency, and frequently clears “cold” or abandoned devices.[8] Human Rights Watch reported YEMAC had cleared mines of an improvised nature in areas from which Houthi forces withdrew near the Red Sea port city of Mokha in February 2017.[9]

Independent investigators have documented three types of improvised mines used by Houthi forces on Yemen’s west coast that are identical to, or closely resemble, conventional mines. They include a Claymore-type mine almost identical to a Chinese-made directional mine (Type 150-A GLD), a larger directional mine similar to an Iranian-made mine (M18A2) and an antivehicle mine similar to Russian-made TM46 mines. Some of the improvised mines have serial numbers indicating mass production.[10] The UN reported the appearance of improvised sea mines in the Red Sea since 2017.[11]

Cluster Munition Contamination

Yemen was contaminated with ERW, including cluster munition remnants, before 2015, but the escalation of armed conflict since March 2015 has significantly increased both its extent and the threat to the civilian population, mainly as a result of airstrikes by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition.[12] (See the Cluster Munition Ban Policy profile for further information.)

YEMAC reported in 2014 that it had identified some 18kmof suspected cluster munition hazards in the northern Saada governorate bordering Saudi Arabia. It also knew of other areas of contamination in northwestern Hajjah governorate that it had not been able to survey.[13]

Since the start of the latest round of hostilities in March 2015, international observers and researchers reported that Saudi coalition land and aerial bombardments using a variety of cluster munitions had struck many areas of northwestern and central Yemen, with the latest confirmed attacks occurring in February 2017.[14] YEMAC has identified heavy cluster munition contamination in Saada and al-Jawf governorates as well as additional cluster munition contamination in Amran, Hodeida, Mawit, and Sanaa governorates, including in Sanaa city.[15] Contamination was also reported in Hayran, in Hajjah governorate.[16]

Program Management

A National Mine Action Committee (NMAC) is responsible for formulating policy, allocating resources, and developing a national mine action strategy.[17] It is chaired by a minister of state (a member of the cabinet) and brings together representatives of seven concerned ministries. It is unclear if, or to what extent, the NMAC remains functional.

YEMAC was established in Sanaa in January 1999 as NMAC’s implementing body with responsibility for coordinating mine action in the country.[18] Amid the upsurge of violence since 2015, YEMAC has become, de facto, two organizations, split between Sanaa, under the control of the Houthis, and the southern city of Aden controlled by the Saudi-led coalition and Yemen’s internationally recognized but exiled government. The Sanaa office coordinates operations in the north and center of the country while the Aden office oversees operations in southern provinces.[19]

YEMAC is supported by a Regional Executive Mine Action Branch (REMAB) in Aden, also set up in 1999, as well as REMABs in al-Mukalla (Hadramout governorate), opened in March 2004 and Saada (April 2016).[20]

In 2017, the UNDP reported that YEMAC administrative and operational capacity and productivity improved in 2017, helped by training courses for new recruits in ERW clearance, training for a survey leadership group, and Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) training in Jordan for database staff.[21] The UNDP’s international staff included a planning and reporting specialist in Sanaa and a technical advisor based in Aden. National staff included two posts in Sanaa and one in Aden.[22]

Strategic planning

YEMAC does not currently have a strategic plan for mine clearance. Since 2015, mine action has operated on an emergency basis and YEMAC has worked with UNDP to address emergency threats to communities posed by all explosive hazards, including mines, improvised explosive devices, cluster munition remnants, and unexploded aircraft and ground-launched ordnance. The lack of training and equipment limits YEMAC teams’ ability to tackle many of the items encountered.

The UNDP identified three main goals for emergency operations: preventing the situation from getting any worse; mitigating the impact of existing contamination; and, over the longer term, addressing Yemen’s Mine Ban Treaty obligations.[23]

In July 2017, the UNDP started implementing Phase V (2017–2020) of its program in Yemen, which includes support for YEMAC in preparing the request for an extension to its Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline, due for submission by March 2019. It has identified four desired outputs:

  • Mine and unexploded ordinance (UXO) contamination is mapped and the impact assessed nationwide.
  • Mines and UXO are efficiently cleared in priority areas.
  • Risk education is increased in affected communities.
  • Survivors are screened, rehabilitated, and supported.

The UNDP estimated total funding required for Phase V at US$39.9 million. As of June 2017, funding pledged amounted to $9.8 million.[24] It sought to increase funding from around $6 million available in 2017 to around $15 million a year.[25]

Information management

YEMAC is responsible for information management and maintains an IMSMA database. The UNDP observed that although not updated, the system was providing more reliable data. Most database staff in Sanaa had left by the beginning of 2017. YEMAC recruited new staff for its offices in Sanaa and Aden, who underwent IMSMA training in Jordan in May 2017.[26]

The UNDP also recruited a mapping expert in 2017 working in the Aden office to boost preparation and distribution of contamination maps.


YEMAC was Yemen’s only humanitarian clearance operator in 2017. By the start of 2016, it had some 850 staff split between offices in Sanaa and Aden, of whom between 350 and 400 were said to be active. These included three UXO clearance teams set up at the end of 2015 to focus on contamination in cities.[27] YEMAC subsequently recruited additional staff and reported reaching around 700 field staff in 2017.[28] YEMAC also had 19 mine detection dogs (MDD) in 2017, of which six were active supporting survey and clearance.[29]

A Dynasafe MineTech subsidiary, Dynasafe Middle East Project Management, signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Fund in March 2018 for a $40 million demining operation funded by the Saudi government. The project was due to run for a year initially, with the possibility of extension subject to review. It became operational in May 2018 with headquarters in Marib and sub-offices in Sanaa and Aden. The project expected to build up a staff of more than 400, including 20 international experts and advisers, and to operate with a little over 300 YEMAC staff, including 32 demining teams.[30]

Danish Demining Group (DDG) had offices in both Sanaa and Aden in 2016 but in 2017 worked only in the south. It is accredited to provide risk education, and in 2017 it delivered training for close to 10,000 people.[31]

Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) conducted an assessment mission to Sanaa in October 2017 to explore the possibilities for establishing a program to support YEMAC’s MDD capacity.[32]

HALO Trust agreed in 2017 to provide training on survey and use of thermite torches for YEMAC personnel in Jordan. However, 10 YEMAC personnel attempting to leave through Aden to attend a HALO course were detained by the authorities at the end of July 2018.[33]

The Saudi-led coalition has two mine action teams, from the UAE and Sudan, deployed in the south. Little is known about their capacity or assets, or any activities. The UAE has reportedly agreed to “clear” Dhubab city in southwestern Taiz governorate.[34]

Land Release

Despite Yemen’s continuing war and a humanitarian crisis described by the UN as the worst in the world, YEMAC expanded capacity and the scope of operations in 2017. YEMAC field staff operated in 55 districts of 14 governorates in 2017. This compares favorably with the previous year when it worked in 47 districts across nine governorates.[35]

Survey in 2017

YEMAC conducted technical survey on a total of 3kmin 2017. More than half of that amount was accounted for by operations to rehabilitate the Amran cement factory, a key economic facility, which had been hit by air strikes in 2015 and 2016, but did not involve mine clearance.

Clearance in 2017

YEMAC cleared 8,556,883mof ERW-contaminated land in 2017, according to the UNDP, more than double the area recorded as cleared in 2016. Available data, however, did not disaggregate the extent of mine clearance although it involved the destruction of at least 1,729 antipersonnel mines.[36] It also involved the destruction of 3,245 cluster munition remnants.[37]

YEMAC conducted mainly spot clearance of high-threat, high-impact tasks prioritizing civilian infrastructure rather than undertaking large area clearance that would tie down assets for extended periods of time.[38] YEMAC also reportedly cleared 632 items of improvised ordnance in 2017, but available data did not identify how many devices were victim-activated and therefore meet the definition of an antipersonnel landmine under the Mine Ban Treaty.

Some clearance of mines and other explosive ordnance was reportedly conducted by UAE military engineers but the objectives and extent of such activities was unknown.[39]

Clearance in 2016 and 2017[40]


Area (m2)

AP mines destroyed

AV mines destroyed

Improvised munitions destroyed

ERW destroyed













Note: AP = antipersonnel; AV = antivehicle.

Progress in 2018

The improvements in productivity appeared to continue in 2018 with clearance of 5,123,548mrecorded in the first five months of the year. Operations resulted in clearance of 448 antipersonnel mines, 4,122 antivehicle mines, 600 improvised munitions, and 1,846 items of UXO. Most clearance was in Dhamar (1.1km2) and Sanaa (1.01km2) governorates, with substantial areas also cleared in Hajjah, Saada, and Taiz governorates. Most of the items destroyed were in Aden and Sanaa.[42]

Dynasafe MineTech became operational in Yemen in May 2018 and reported clearing 800 mines in June 2018. Project goals include clearance of all high-threat areas, clearing roads to allow safe passage of humanitarian goods, and making schools safe. In August 2018, it reported operating in west coast areas and in the provinces of Lahej, Marib, Sanaa, and Shabwah.[43]

Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 Compliance

Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty (and in accordance with the five-year extension granted in 2014), Yemen is required to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 March 2020. It will not meet this deadline and will need to request a third extension by March 2019.

Yemen was previously granted five-year Article 5 deadline extensions by States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in 2008 and 2014. For the second extension, Yemen requested the additional time to clear 107 confirmed mined areas covering 8.1kmbut it is not on track to achieve this target.[44] The subsequent escalation in conflict disrupted clearance activity and shifted operational priorities from legacy minefields to emergency clearance of ERW.

Mine clearance in 2013–2017


Area cleared (km2)


Not reported












YEMAC decided in consultation with the UNDP in June 2018 that it would request a three-year extension to its Article 5 deadline from April 2020 until April 2023 on the basis that in the prevailing environment of conflict it was not feasible to plan further ahead (and in the hope the conflicts would come to an end). YEMAC would treat the three years as an interim emergency response, and aim to conduct a national contamination survey to provide a realistic basis for a subsequent 10-year extension request. In the three-year interim period, clearance of legacy minefields, often well-known to communities, would take a lower priority than high-threat ERW.[45]



The Monitor acknowledges the contributions of the Mine Action Review (, which has conducted the primary mine action research in 2018 and shared all its country-level landmine reports (from“Clearing the Mines 2018”) and country-level cluster munition reports (from “Clearing Cluster Munition Remnants 2018”) with the Monitor. The Monitor is responsible for the findings presented online and in its print publications.

[1] UNDP, “Emergency Mine Action Project, Annual Progress Report 2017,” January 2018, p. 6; Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request (update), 10 March 2016, p. 4.

[2] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017), Forms D and L.

[3] UNDP, “Mid-Year Report, 2017,” 20 July 2017, p. 4.

[4] UNDP, Phase V, “Emergency Mine Action Project,” Project Document, p. 1.

[5] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010), Form I.

[7] Minutes of Yemen Mine Action Technical Working Group Meeting, Amman, 24 July 2018.

[8] Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 Extension Request (update), 10 March 2016, p. 5; and UNDP, “Mid-Year Report, 2017,” 20 July 2017, p. 4.

[9] Human Rights Watch, “Yemen: Houthi-Saleh Forces Using Landmines,” 10 April 2017.

[10] Conflict Armament Research, “Mines and IEDs Employed by Houthis on Yemen’s West Coast,” September 2018, pp. 5–6, 11.

[11] UN Security Council, Final Report of the Panel of Experts, S/2018/68, Annexes 40 & 41, pp. 166–171, 26 January 2018.

[12] UNDP, “Grant Progress Report for 1 October–31 December 2015,” 25 January 2016.

[13] Email from Ali al-Kadri, General Director, YEMAC, 20 March 2014.

[14] See the 2017 Cluster Munition Monitor Ban Policy overview for details.

[15] Interview with Ahmed Alawi, YEMAC, in Geneva, 17 February 2016; and with Stephen Bryant, Chief Technical Adviser, UNDP, in Geneva, 6 February 2017.

[16] Amnesty International, “Yemen: children among civilians killed and maimed in cluster bomb ‘minefields,’” 23 May 2016.

[17] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form I, 31 March 2009.

[18] Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 31 March 2008, p. 2.

[19] Interviews with Ahmed Alawi, YEMAC, and Stephen Bryant, UNDP, in Geneva, 17 February 2016; and UNDP, “Support to eliminate the impact from mines and ERW − Phase IV, Annual Progress Report 2014,” undated but 2015.

[20] Email from Stephen Bryant, UNDP, 22 July 2018.

[21] UNDP, “Emergency Mine Action Project, Annual Report 2017,” January 2018, pp. 10–12.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid., p. 6.

[24] UNDP, Phase V, “Emergency Mine Action Project,” Project Document, p. 1. Donors were the United States ($7 million), the United Kingdom ($1.1 million), the Netherlands ($1.1 million), and Germany ($0.5 million).

[25] UNDP, Phase V, “Emergency Mine Action Project,” Project Document, p. 7.

[26] UNDP, “Emergency Mine Action Project, Annual Progress Report 2017,” January 2018, p. 10.

[27] Interview with Ahmed Alawi, YEMAC, and Stephen Bryant, UNDP, in Geneva, 17 February 2016.

[28] UNDP, “Emergency Mine Action Project, Annual Progress Report 2017,” January 2018, p. 12.

[29] Colin Bent and Alma Dukic, “Yemen Assessment Report,” NPA, undated but November 2017, pp. 16–18.

[30] Email from Chris Clark, Global Operations Director, Dynasafe MineTech, 6 August 2018.

[31] Email from Maria Ersvaer, Programme and Operations Coordinator, DDG, 30 April 2018.

[32] Colin Bent and Alma Dukic, “Yemen Assessment Report,” NPA, undated but November 2017; Minutes of Yemen Mine Action Technical Working Group Meeting, Amman, 24 July 2018; and email from Stephen Bryant, UNDP, 27 July 2018.

[33] Email from Stephen Bryant, UNDP, 31 July 2018.

[34] UNDP, Minutes of Mine Action Technical Working Group Meeting, Amman, Jordan, 24 July 2018.

[35] UNDP, “Emergency Mine Action Project, Annual Progress Report 2017,” January 2018, p. 9.

[36] UNDP, “YEMAC clearance activities 2016–2017, productivity January–December 2017,” received by email from Stephen Bryant, UNDP, 3 April 2018.

[37] UNDP, “Emergency Mine Action Project, Annual Progress Report 2017,” January 2018, pp. 12, 20.

[38] Ibid., p. 12.

[39] See, for example, “UAE armed forces continues clearing landmines in Yemen’s west coast,” Emirates News Agency, 30 January 2018.

[40] UNDP, “YEMAC clearance activities 2016–17, productivity January–December 2017,” received by email from Stephen Bryant, UNDP, 3 April 2018.

[41] Clearance data showed 16,198 antipersonnel mines were cleared in Aden and 15,947 antivehicle mines were cleared in Aden (9,476), Hadramout (4,779), and Lahej (1,692). No explanation for the exceptionally high number of items cleared in these locations was immediately available.

[42] UNDP, “YEMAC productivity, January to May 2018,” received by email from Stephen Bryant, UNDP, 15 July 2018; and Minutes of Yemen Mine Action Technical Working Group Meeting, Amman, 24 July 2018.

[43] Email from Chris Clark, Dynasafe MineTech, 6 August 2018.

[44] Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 31 March 2008, p. 13.

[45] Minutes of Yemen Mine Action Technical Working Group Meeting, Amman, 24 July 2018.