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Explosive ordnance disposal and mine clearance in Kosovo

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UNMIK/PR/1392

PRISTINA -- Members of the public should not go into areas marked with tape or mine signs, or approach or touch any objects that look suspicious, appeals the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Management Section of the Office of the Kosovo Protection Corps Coordinator (OKPCC). Members of the public should report any items of unexploded ordnance (UXO) or mines to the Police, KFOR or the EOD Management Section of the OKPCC.

There are currently 44 Dangerous Areas remaining in Kosovo that are known to contain some sort of threat from either mines or UXO and a further 53 areas that, although surface cleared, may have a sub surface threat which may require clearing in the future.

Since 2001, the EOD Management Section of the OKPCC has been responsible for the management of the residual clearance of mines and UXO in Kosovo. The KPC currently has seven EOD teams and are conducting four separate tasks at Prishtinë/Priština Airport, Lukare/Lugar and Dulë/Dulje Pass. The KPC are also responsible for EOD Response Tasks Kosovo-wide, a responsibility transferred from KFOR to the KPC last month.

There is still a requirement for International Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to be engaged in UXO and mine clearance in Kosovo. The NGOs active in Kosovo are the Halo Trust, Handicap International and the Mines Awareness Trust. Continued donor funding is sought for the on-going operations of the NGOs and training of the KPC EOD teams, which together have approximately 250 people involved in the day-to-day clearance of mines and UXO.

Last year between the KPC, KFOR and the NGOs over 4000 items of mines and UXO were located and destroyed and over four million square metres of land was cleared. There were also 11 accidents involving 14 people where one person died and 13 were seriously injured.

Since April this year when demining activities began, over 1200 items of mines and UXO have been located and destroyed and over two million square metres of land has been cleared. There have been five accidents so far resulting in two fatalities and seven serious injuries. This year, the KPC EOD teams alone have cleared over 1.4 million square metres of land and located and destroyed over 250 UXO and mines.