1,085 site-specific risk assessments and continuous on-site explosive remnants of war (ERW) safety training and quality assurance allowed the removal of 1 million tons of rubble from heavily contaminated areas and the construction of infrastructure to proceed without a single ERW accident.
ERW risk assessments, quality assurance and 24/7 explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) enabled the safe delivery by partner agencies of more than 150 reconstruction projects valued at millions of US dollars of roads, public facilities, public parks, water wells, desalination plants and other infrastructure in municipalities across Gaza.
249 EOD callouts led to the recovery and destruction of 354 ERW from UN premises, reconstruction sites and civilian structures, and 7,324 ERW has been destroyed under UNMAS supervision.
150 aircraft bombs with a net explosive quantity of 29 tons were neutralized and destroyed, thus preventing ERW accidents and the harvesting of explosives to make homemade rockets.
144,000+ UN staff, humanitarian workers, IDPs, engineers, construction workers and other at-risk populations have been trained by UNMAS to identify and safely respond to ERW contamination.
UNMAS intervention in Gaza reduces the threat and impact of existing explosive remnants of war (ERW) and mitigates the impact of future conflicts on Gaza communities by addressing the following: (i) improved human security by mitigating the threat of current and future ERW threats; (ii) support to reconstruction through ERW risk mitigation measures and EOD support; and (iii) emergency preparedness measures.
Improved Human Security
Following the last conflict in Gaza, UNMAS has provided over 5,114 training sessions to enable 144,365 UN staff, humanitarian workers, IDPs, engineers, construction workers and other at-risk populations - including 83,665 children - to identify and safely respond to existing ERW contamination in Gaza. In line with a focus on emergency preparedness, UNMAS continues to work on specific risk education focused on protection and conflict preparedness with a focus of empowering women in the community to ensure that the communities have the tools and skillsets to deal with on-going hostilities and learn resilience. Within the Protection Cluster, UNMAS leads the ERW/Mine Action sub-cluster, coordinating all NGOs and UN entities to ensure beneficiaries receive timely and targeted support. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UNMAS is additionally providing parallel ERW and COVID19 safety messaging to communities in Gaza through socially distanced street sessions. To date, UNMAS has provided 3,596 sessions reaching 10,149 beneficiaries, including 4,053 children.
Support to Reconstruction
As suspected presence of ERW impedes the clean-up and reconstruction of vital housing and infrastructure, UNMAS delivers an ERW risk mitigation process - a systematic and investigative process that involves identifying explosive hazards, predicting possible incidents, and determining the impact of hazards and mitigation measures that can be implemented or planned - to ensure that reconstruction and rubble removal are taking place safely and without delay. The process involves the provision of on-site ERW training sessions, quality assurance, risk assessments and direct EOD support to partners’ rubble removal, reconstruction and infrastructure projects. UNMAS intervention enabled the safe delivery of more than 150 reconstruction projects for roads, public facilities, public parks, water wells, wastewater treatment plants, desalination plants, electricity networks and other infrastructure across Gaza. This dangerous and necessary work led the Secretary-General to honour, in November 2016, two UNMAS Gaza bomb disposal experts with the Courage Award. Most recently, in November 2019, UNMAS carried out the excavation and clearance of a 2000lb Deep Buried Bomb (DBB) located in central Gaza. The DBB posed a grave danger to an estimated 3000 people who lived within 1000m of the DBB location.
UNMAS maintains a bomb clearance team on standby in Gaza to remove and destroy existing contamination which poses a threat to Gaza communities. Since the 2014 conflict ended, 189 people have been killed or injured by ERW, 80% of whom were men and boys. UNMAS strategy in Gaza is to be ready for a rapid response during potential conflict, and to maintain emergency preparedness measures that are in concert with the contingency planning of UN partners.
UNMAS is funded through to the end of April 2021 at a reduced operational capacity and is seeking additional funds to maintain its programme. Therefore, UNMAS is seeking USD 480,000 to cover its activities in Gaza in 2021.
Data updated: September 2020