UNMAS welcomes generous contribution from The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg [EN/AR]
Baghdad, 3 August 2017 – The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has confirmed its commitment to support stabilization and humanitarian activities through mitigation of explosive hazards in Mosul, Iraq with a contribution of 500,000 Euros to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS).
The battle with Da’esh in Mosul drove much of the population to leave their homes to become internally displaced persons (IDPs). Of the 54 residential neighbourhoods in West Mosul, 15 are heavily damaged and 23 are moderately damaged following the fighting in Mosul. This is affecting the return of over half a million civilians. One of the main concerns for people returning to Mosul, now and in the future, is the extensive presence of explosive hazards such as Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and unexploded ordnance (UXO). UNMAS teams have already conducted initial assessment missions to Western Mosul, and confirmed significant damage to infrastructure such as water and electric plants and sewage systems. Western Mosul represents one of the largest and most complex stabilization challenges the United Nations has faced.
Identification and removal of explosive hazards is the first step before stabilization initiatives or humanitarian interventions can take place and is a crucial enabling factor for any stabilization activities in Iraq. Until areas have been assessed, it is not safe for people to return. UNMAS has been supporting humanitarian access in East Mosul since August 2016 and in West Mosul already since February 2017, carrying out assessments, survey, and clearance operations. UNMAS is supporting the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS). UNMAS has so far completed 147 stabilization tasks in both east and west Mosul. Out of the additional 255 stabilization tasks that UNMAS is currently working on, 95% are within Mosul city itself and the remaining 5% is for key infrastructure in areas surrounding Mosul. The Fine Arts School for Boys in East Mosul, of the stabilization tasks supported, was expected to contain explosive hazards. It is suspected that this facility was used to manufacture remote robots, suicide belts and uniforms. During the clearance carried out by UNMAS, twenty explosive items and bomb making material were found and safely removed. Following clearance, 111 teachers, 140 staff, and over 1,000 students are now safe from the threat posed by the explosive hazards and materials and can continue to use the school.
Based on priorities identified by the Government of Iraq and the local authorities in Mosul, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg contribution allows UNMAS to extend its support and activities to ensure that explosive hazards are identified and removed enabling lifesaving work and supporting the safe return of IDPs to Mosul.
“The generous support from the Government of Luxembourg will significantly contribute towards enabling the return of displaced people to Mosul through survey and clearance of infrastructure required for stabilization.” Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Senior Programme Manager.
Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Iraq Programme, Senior Programme Officer firstname.lastname@example.org