Destroyed 1,001,280 explosive devices and more than 3.7 million bullets, including 39,032 mines and 962,248 unexploded ordnance (UXO), to make safe: 1,208 water points ensuring communities safe access to water; 234 schools so children could resume education; and 196 clinics to restore vital medical services.
Cleared 4,190 km and surveyed 26,037 km of road enabling UN and humanitarian partners to deliver life-saving aid, as well as supporting functioning markets and sustainable development.
Risk Education ensured that 4,425,265 people can recognize and report explosive hazards. After the July 2016 fighting in Juba, following a Risk Education campaign, UNMAS received more than 40 reports a day.
Enhanced security at key UN sites including those providing protection to internally displaced persons (IDPs) by conducting more than a million baggage and vehicle searches with explosives detection dogs (EDD).
Since its inception in 2004, UNMAS has cleared 40.4km2 of minefields and 69.4km2 of cluster strikes and battlefields as well as surveying and confirming safe more than 1,154km2 of suspected areas.
The revitalized peace agreement signals a new era in South Sudan, but significant areas of the country remain littered with land mines, cluster munitions, and other explosive hazards. Currently 25.4 million square meters (approximately 3,562 football pitches) spread across 361 separate sites are thought to be contaminated by such hazards. These explosive hazards continue to preclude the delivery of humanitarian aid and inhibit socioeconomic development.
The style of fighting in recent years has been different to that of the civil war and the landmines and cluster munitions, that created the greatest clearance challenges, have not been used, and clear progress is being made. It is now realistic to envisage an end to proactive clearance in the next three to five years. UNMAS is preparing for a transfer of responsibility in the management of clearance and residual contamination to the National Mine Action Authority.
As of 31 March 2019, UNMAS coordinates 38 mine action teams with additional Risk Education teams. Each year those teams clear around 10km2 of contaminated ground and deliver safety messaging to more than 300,000 people.
UNMAS is an integral component of UNMISS, mandated under Security Council Resolution 2459 (2019), and supports the four core objectives:
- Protection of civilians;
- Creating the conditions for the delivery of humanitarian assistance;
- Monitoring and investigating human rights, which includes reporting on the use of land mines and cluster munitions;
- Supporting the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement and the peace process.
Survey and Clearance:
In Mundri, Western Equatoria, Oxfam reported that the population was afraid to use their boreholes because of explosive hazards and was consuming unsafe water. UNMAS surveyed and cleared the area enabling Oxfam to repair vital water points: “We appreciate UNMAS support, it is the only way we can do our job of repairing the boreholes for these populations that are currently drinking from swamp water. It also clearly improves the safety of Oxfam staff in the area and the local population,” Nick Lacey, former Programme Manager, Oxfam.
In order to reach remote communities in the Bahr El Ghazal region, WFP initiated a feeder road project. When a bulldozer hit an anti-tank mine in the first few days of construction, the project was suspended. It took two years for UNMAS to survey and remove explosive hazards from this area. “Mine Action is truly Humanitarian Action, without which WFP would not be able to fight hunger and poverty,” Joyce Luma, former WFP Director. Route clearance teams are currently working to support the famine response across the country.
Protection of Civilians
Using Explosives Detection Dogs (EDD), UNMAS supports UN Police (UNPOL) to conduct searches for hazardous items at UNMISS Protection of Civilians (PoC) sites where over 180,000 IDPs seek refuge and safety at five locations across the country. The EDD regularly conduct entry point control activities at the entrance to the PoC sites to prevent harmful items from entering and also provide enhanced security measures for UNMISS bases.
UNMAS delivers Risk Education (RE) to conflict-affected populations, particularly targeting vulnerable groups such as IDPs and children. In Pochalla, Jonglei, where families displaced by conflict were allocated land for resettlement, a mother recognised a landmine. She knew how to report it thanks to an RE session she previously received. An UNMAS investigation found that the land, including the nearby primary school compound, was heavily contaminated with mines; UNMAS has since initiated an operation to survey and clear the area.
UNMAS South Sudan mainly receives funding from the UN Peacekeeping Assessed Budget, in addition to funding from the Government of Japan through the Voluntary Trust Fund (VTF) for Mine Action.
Updated March 2019