Mine Action Briefing, 14 August 2012
UNMAS clearance operations support agricultural development and improve livelihoods.
UNMAS is clearing land for agricultural development in Getty village 35kms outside Wau, Western Bahr El‐Ghezal. Last year a local farmer Mr. Majok struck an item of unexploded ordnance (UXO) while digging his land. A follow up assessment coordinated by UNMAS discovered that the field and surrounding area was contaminated with mortars, rockets and propellers, suspected to have been left behind by SAF forces who were once located in the area. While UXO pose a danger to the local community, they also deter others returning to and cultivating land. Mr. Mark Dut Opiou, the Deputy Administrator of Udish Payom –Getty’s administrative district– explained that “As a result of the ammunition contamination in the area people are afraid of returning back to their homes”. UNMAS in partnership with The Development Initiative (TDI) is currently clearing the land through a process known as Battle Area Clearance (BAC). Majok is “happy about clearance operations being undertaken” and feels “safer about cultivating”. As more area is released, Majok is “planning on expanding its cultivation; joining forces with his neighbour farmers”.
Cluster bombs located in a Yei secondary school
Norwegian Peoples Aid (NPA) has commenced the survey and clearance of unexploded ordnance (UXO) located in a Yei secondary school playground. The UXO pose a significant danger to the 1200 students and staff, as well as the surrounding buildings which include a local hospital and primary school. So far, a total of 15 cluster bombs known as PM1 have been found and safely removed. While there are 119 officially recorded casualties in Yei which was once the site of civil war fighting, this number is expected to be higher due to non‐reporting.
UNMAS conducts receives priorities from Government and Aid Agencies
In order to ensure an effective and coordinated response to the problems associated with landmine and explosive remnants of war (ERW) contamination in South Sudan; throughout the month of July, UNMAS held prioritization meetings with South Sudanese Governmental Authorities, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), UN agencies, and non‐governmental organisations (NGO). The aims of these meetings were to collectively agree on operational priorities for the 2012/13 clearance season. To provide input to this process, please contact Robert Thompson, Chief of Operations (RobertT@unmacc.org).
Humanitarian Mine Action activities are made possible by support from the European Commission, the Common Humanitarian Fund for Sudan, and the Governments of Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the UN peacekeeping assessed budget.
UNMAS South Sudan coordinates mine action activities in South Sudan and works with the South Sudan Mine Action Authority, UN agencies, UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and national and international NGOs to reduce the threat and impact of landmines and UXO throughout the country.