Baghdad, 17 October 2017– The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) welcomes a renewed contribution of EUR 500,000 from the Government of Italy for UNMAS 2017 programme activities in Iraq. The support will facilitate humanitarian partners access to areas retaken from Da’esh, assist the stabilization process and allow for the safe return of displaced persons to their communities.
The conflict with Da’esh in Iraq has resulted in complex and extensive explosive hazard contamination and has displaced more than 3 million people since 2014. Explosive hazards present a significant risk for individuals trying to return to their communities, humanitarian and stabilization workers, as well as those living in newly liberated areas.
Clearing explosive hazards from infrastructure is a critical first step before rehabilitation can start. UNMAS and its partners have recently completed survey and clearance of one of the major hospitals in east Mosul. The facility has been cleared from explosive hazards, enabling rehabilitation work to begin. As the hospital serves as the main provider for maternity and paediatric care for the region, it is estimated that 500,000 women, girls, boys and men will benefit from improved healthcare services as a result of the rehabilitation of the hospital. UNMAS and implementing partners have also cleared numerous schools in Al Qayarra, which was surrounded by a defensive line of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), along with one IED at the gate, one in a storeroom and one in the Headmaster’s office. The school has now been cleared and reopened to students.
With the recent contribution from the Government of Italy, UNMAS will continue conducting critical first-step activities, such as clearing hospitals and schools from explosive hazards, and supporting and enabling people to return to safer communities.
“Threats posed by explosive hazards perpetuate humanitarian crises; mine action is therefore needed more than ever. The Government of Italy is committed to mine action in Iraq because it save lives, facilitates the delivery of humanitarian assistance, protects civilians and supports the voluntary return of the internally displaced and refugees. Our funding to UNMAS for demining activities is a tangible sign of our longstanding commitment for the stabilization of Iraq.” (Quote Ambassador Marco Carnelos (Embassy of Italy to Iraq)
“The generous contribution from the Government of Italy will further enable UNMAS to clear IEDs and unexploded ordnance in retaken areas and will greatly contribute to the safe return of displaced communities.” (Mr. Pehr Lodhammar, Senior Programme Manager, United Nations Mine Action Service Iraq)
Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Iraq Programme, Senior Programme Manager Lodhammar@un.org