oPt

OPT: UNMAT situation report, 01-31 Oct 2009

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OPERATIONAL UPDATE

In the course of October, UNMAT Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams conducted Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) Risk Assessments for 249 damaged and destroyed houses and agricultural fields throughout the Gaza Strip - in preparation of rubble removal and reconstruction/early recovery activities coordinated by UNDP, UNRWA and CHF, as well as rehabilitation of agricultural roads by ACF.

This brings the total number of Risk Assessments conducted by UNMAT to 1,729, of which 31% have been categorized as having a high or medium risk of UXO contamination, thereby necessitating EOD follow-up. Hence, in October, EOD Teams also continued to provide direct EOD support to UNDP rubble removal teams working on "High" risk sites, in order to provide safe clearance of ordnance.

In parallel, EOD Rapid Response activities are ongoing, with teams responding to tasking requests from the local population, local authorities and humanitarian agencies. EOD Teams are also continuing to clear impact holes previously identified in agricultural areas.

Moreover, during the reporting period, MAG conducted 18 UXO Safety Awareness Training sessions for 428 humanitarian aid workers, contracted rubble removal workers and site managers (UNRWA, UNDP, ICRC, CHF and Country Charity Society), as well as to civilian groups most at-risk (farmers and residents of contaminated areas). These trainings are crucial given the assessed risks and unknown threats in the sites.

Since the deployment of the UNMAT and MAG into Gaza on 23 January 2009, the Ministry of Health has reported that a total of 30 persons have been injured and 10 persons killed as a result of 18 UXO related accidents. The last accident occurred on 1 October involving two teenagers aged 15 and 16 years.