The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Iraq welcomes a renewed contribution of twenty five million (25,000,000) Danish Kroner (USD 3.7 million) from the Government of Denmark in support of UNMAS’ activities that are providing an explosive hazard management response in areas liberated from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The recent conflict in Iraq has resulted in complex explosive contamination that poses a significant threat to livelihoods and the safety of communities living in areas affected by the conflict. Humanitarian assistance has been hampered due to the presence of explosive hazards and people have been forced to abandon their homes due to unexploded ordnance. Water treatment plants and hospitals are also not being utilised as they are littered with explosive hazards. Explosive hazard management responses enable humanitarian actors and those living in conflict-affected areas to receive the urgent assistance that they so desperately need.
UNMAS teams have been facilitating humanitarian and stabilization activities in Mosul for over one year, starting in East Mosul in November 2016 and moving into West Mosul (Old City) in November 2017. During this period, UNMAS has supported over 100 United Nations missions into liberated areas to provide advice on the potential explosive hazard threat. To complement the work already carried out by the Iraqi Security Forces, UNMAS has removed about 45,000 explosive hazards including 748 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) since January 2017. In addition to this, UNMAS, in cooperation with its partner Danish Demining Group, provides risk education to families that are returning to liberated areas to make them aware of the risks posed by explosive hazards and ensure safe returns.
The Government of Denmark, has supported UNMAS for the past three years and has already provided ninety million (90,000,000) Danish Kroner (USD 11.7 million) towards these critical activities. The continued support from the Government of Denmark allows UNMAS to deliver further explosive hazard risk awareness and risk education; to conduct survey and clearance of explosive hazards and to actively coordinate a sustainable explosive hazard response in collaboration with the Government of Iraq, regional authorities, the international and humanitarian community and mine action organizations.
The Danish Ambassador to Iraq, Mr. Gert Meinecke, said “The Government of Denmark highly appreciates the work of UNMAS Iraq, and remains committed to assisting the Government of Iraq in its efforts to address the unprecedented contamination of explosive hazards left behind by Da’esh”.
“Through the continued support and close partnership with UNMAS, the Government of Denmark is greatly assisting to strengthen the response to the threat of unexploded ordnance and IEDs” stated Mr. Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Senior Programme Manager “thereby enhancing community safety and facilitating the return of displaced people to their homes.”