The Duke of Sussex has sent a letter of support to the charity HALO Trust, praising their continued work removing landmines from countries such as Afghanistan, Somalia and Libya, despite the coronavirus crisis.

Prince Harry, 35, wrote: “In these trying times, hope comes from the light of our common humanity. Nowhere is that light burning brighter than at the Halo Trust. As countries closed their borders, lockdowns came into force and international travel became harder, many might have chosen to suspend operations.

“Instead, HALO kept open a presence in all 25 of its country operations.”

The letter was released on Tuesday and was addressed to all of the organisations 8,500 workers who work across 25 countries and nations.

Harry also praised the organisation’s work during the coronavirus pandemic, with workers helping to provide education, ambulances, hygiene kits and PPE to local medical professionals battling COVID-19 in the same countries.

“As countries closed their borders, lockdowns came into force and international travel became harder, many might have chosen to suspend operations. Instead, HALO kept open,” wrote Harry.

“HALO might just have stuck to its core role, but I would also like to salute you for pivoting so quickly to meet the challenges unexpectedly presented by the pandemic,” he continued.

“The fact that you can operate across conflict-affected countries like Afghanistan is also a precious resource in the face of a disease that recognises no frontlines.”

He ended the letter by saying: “It is at times like this that the work and efforts of people like you – prepared to do whatever it takes to help, serve and protect others – shines through.”

“In sometimes hazardous and dangerous situations, your commitment to your communities and people who need your help is remarkable. I am hugely proud to be able to support such an extraordinary organisation.”

Prince Harry made an emotional pilgrimage to Africa in September 2019 to retrace his late-mother Princess Diana’s footsteps when she walked through a partially cleared Angolan minefield in Huambo in 1997 when Harry was just 12. The area is now home to a vibrant community with colleges, schools and small businesses.

He also visited Dirico to see the charity’s work first-hand, donning body armour and a face mask to inspect an area of bush being cleared by Halo and had previously visited minefields in Mozambique in 2010.

“It has been emotional retracing my mother’s steps along this street 22 years on and to see the transformation that has taken place,” Harry said during his 2019 trip which happened during his tour of southern Africa with wife Meghan Markle and their son Archie.

“The work of de-mining is dangerous, expensive and laborious,” he added. “I have the utmost admiration and respect for all who do this hazardous work and risk their lives in service of their community.”

James Cowan, Halo’s CEO said: “It is very thoughtful of the Duke to write to HALO staff in this way. Not many people realise we do more than landmine clearance. In responding to Covid we have the skills and equipment to respond. And above all we can operate in some very dangerous places with the trust of the local people.”

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