The small village of Ravina in northern Iraq has had a troubled recent history.
Situated in the Amedi district of Dohuk Governorate near the Turkish border and home to around 60 families, it was attacked in 1965 by the former Iraqi military in order to drive out the Peshmerga (Kurdish forces), whose base was located on the northern mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan.
In 1987, more than 370 residents were forced to leave the village when it was attacked again, by Saddam's regime.
Four years later, following the Kurdish uprising, those displaced were able to return to, and slowly rebuild, their community. With the support of the Kurdish Regional Government, villagers were able to construct a primary school and health centre, as well as facilities to bring water and electricity to the village.
However, the area remained highly contaminated by remnants of conflict and during the late 1990s MAG Community Liaison (CL) teams delivered Mine Risk Education (MRE) to the population.
With an increased awareness of the surrounding dangers, Ravina's villagers were able to continue safely with their everyday lives, until 2007, when the village suffered renewed contamination as the Turkish military launched air-strikes against PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) forces in the area.
Following the attacks, MAG CL teams deployed to Ravina and subsequently identified six new hazardous areas. And in August and September, MAG Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) teams safely removed and destroyed 33 hazardous items including rockets, shells and mortars.
MAG has been operational in Iraq since 1992 and has had specialist teams dedicated to addressing the country's SALW problem since September 2007. For an earlier article on this issue, please click below:
Tackling the threat of small arms and light weapons in Iraq