Baghdad, 07 December 2017– The Government of Portugal will support explosive hazard management, risk education and capacity enhancement initiatives to address explosive hazards in Iraq, with a contribution of one hundred and fifty thousand Euros (USD 175,000) to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS).
The conflict with ISIL has resulted in complex and extensive explosive hazard contamination and has displaced more than three million people since 2014. One of the main concerns for displaced populations in retaken areas are booby-trapped houses and the extensive presence of explosive hazards such as Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Until areas have been assessed, it is not safe for people to return home. In coordination with the Directorate of Mine Action, risk education to create awareness regarding the dangers of explosive hazards is being provided in IDP camps and affected areas.
As west Anbar has been retaken from ISIL by Iraqi Security Forces, UNMAS teams have conducted two initial assessment missions to Haditha, Rawa, Al Qaim and Anah. UNMAS assessments have enabled UN humanitarian agencies to conduct assessments and planning for potential provision of humanitarian aid. During one of the missions, UNMAS was shown three houses with explosive hazards inside. The houses had subsequently been marked by the local authorities. The families who lived in these houses will be unable to return until the explosives have been cleared.
“The generous contribution from the government of Portugal will allow UNMAS to continue to ensure safe returns in retaken areas for the population of Iraq” stated Mr Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Iraq Senior Programme Manager.
Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Iraq Programme, Senior Programme Manager