Libya

JMACT partners work together to release over one million square metres of land around the Sirte Power Plant through clearance of ERW

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JMACT partners have this week worked together to clear the area surrounding the Sirte power plant building site. FSD, DDG, HI and MAG worked together to clear 1,255,330m2 and a total of 93 items of UXO, 24Kg of SAA, and 6Kg of loose propellant all of which was moved safely to the central demolition site for safe storage before it is destroyed. It is expected that clearance of the site will be complete in one to two weeks. Once clearance of this site is complete then construction can recommence safely providing jobs for over 1,000 people in Sirte and once completed will provide the city with a stable electricity supply.

The UNMAS Ammunition Management Officer met with the Deputy Director of the Warriors Affairs Commission along with United Nations Support Mission In Libya (UNSMIL) Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) team. During the meeting UNMAS offered assistance in the form of a draft training programme aimed at increasing awareness of safe practices on weapons ownership, handling and storage. Weapon ownership amongst Libyans was virtually unheard of prior to the conflict and is now prolific in comparison. Training on safe practice around weapons is urgent in order to reduce the incidence of accidents occurring through misuse or poor storage practices.

Libya's landmine problem is one that dates back to the Second World War, but the bigger threat for Libyans today is not stepping on a landmine. Instead, it is Unexploded Ordnance and Explosive Remnants of War and the threat posed from tampering; finding a small round or even a rocket and picking it up to move it or just to see what it is. Sadly, children are amongst the most prevalent victims as they are drawn to pick up items new to them through inherent natural curiosity without knowing the dangers they present.

That is why the work of UNMAS and its partners not only expands mine action to include UXO, but also reaches into the realms of weapons and ammunition management, and small arms and light weapons awareness. Security needs a holistic viewpoint: the more people know about the risk that weapons pose, and the more that can be stored in secure and up-to-standard facilities, the safer everyone will be.