BEIRUT, Nov.25 -- The 19th Chinese peacekeeping multi-function engineering contingent to Lebanon has formally taken over the task of maintaining the Blue Line security channels according to an order recently given by the command of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
The contingent completed the prospecting and inspection of the Blue Line on the Lebanon-Israel border last month. “During the inspection, we found that the Blue Line security channels were blocked by dense vegetation, the wire mesh was rustic, and warning signs were lacking. There were serious security loopholes,” said Zheng Jianhui, mine clearance supervisor of the Chinese contingent.
The maintenance involves clearing thorns and sundries, repairing the wire mesh, and erecting warning signs and construction marks. According to the request of UNIFIL command, Chinese peacekeepers need to repair and maintain nearly 100 landmarks and routes by early February next year, spanning more than 40km.
The area around the Blue Line features complicated terrain and bumpy mountain road. It takes nearly two hours for Chinese peacekeepers to get to the mission area from their barracks, and they have to work in groups as the work is scattered extensively, with no break or timely meals.
The hardest part of the maintenance work is vegetation clearing. Due to the rough terrain and the fact that the security channels are planked by minefields, no machinery is allowed, and the peacekeepers have to clear the vegetation by hand, which takes a lot of time.
The security channels are 30m-500m long each and about 2m wide on average, and Chinese peacekeepers have to clear all the thorns along them according to standard procedures.
Now the Chinese peacekeepers are working at a faster pace as the rain season is approaching in Lebanon, and they have completed the maintenance of 23 security channels already.