The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) welcomes a first contribution of EUR 500,000 (USD 590,000) from the Government of France dedicated to explosive hazard management in support of humanitarian and stabilization efforts.
The presence of explosive hazards, including improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in areas liberated from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), will continue to impede security and stability efforts until they are cleared and rendered safe.
Approximately 1.9 million civilians are still displaced in Iraq due to the recent conflict and unsafe conditions to allow their return. It is estimated that 21% of internally displaced persons (IDPs) are not planning to return to their area of origin because of the presence of explosive hazards and IEDs (REACH/CCCM Cluster ‘Intentions Survey’, January 2018).
The Government of Iraq maintains explosive hazard management capacities within a number of government entities and established mine action authorities, though the demand for assistance far exceeds the resources available.
With this first contribution from France, UNMAS will increase capacity to conduct survey and clearance of liberated areas suspected to be affected by explosive hazards in Anbar, Ninewa, Kirkuk, Salah al-Din, and Diyala Governorates. UNMAS Iraq will more specifically coordinate the deployment of appropriate clearance capacity in priority locations depending on assessments in direct support of the Government of Iraq, UN plans and humanitarian assistance efforts as well as in coordination with relevant UN agencies.
In collaboration with the Directorate of Mine Action (DMA), risk education will be also provided to those living in and returning to liberated areas known to be contaminated by explosive hazards. Finally, this donation will help UNMAS to further enhance Governmental authorities’ ability to better manage, regulate and coordinate response to the current contamination through training and advisory support.
The French Ambassador to Iraq, Mr. Bruno Aubert said: “This contribution testifies not only to the concrete commitment of France alongside Iraqis but also to a desire for effective collaboration with all our partners to develop concrete projects for the reconstruction of Iraq”.
“This first contribution from the Government of France will make a significant difference. It will not only support UNMAS efforts to address the threat posed by explosive hazards, but also contribute to the safe and dignified return of displaced communities” stated Mr. Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Senior Programme Manager.