With the objective of stabilizing newly recovered areas and consolidating national capacities to manage the explosive threat in Somalia, Japan continues to support UNMAS
Mogadishu, 1 March, 2013 - Japan has contributed US $ 4,000,000 to the Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action to allow UNMAS to deliver support to Somalia during 2013.
With the support of the People of Japan, the United Nations Mine Action Service has been able to deliver essential support to Somalia’s Security Sector Institutions, predominantly the Somali National Police, enabling the ongoing development of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal capacity, and the delivery of lifesaving humanitarian mine action support to the civilian population. The consistent engagement by Japan since 2010 has enabled UNMAS to reach over 60,000 Somali men, women, girls and boys with mine and explosive threat awareness courses, and has helped to remove and destroy over 7,000 explosive items.
Japanese Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Somalia Toshihisa Takata said, “We hope that people in Somalia will now feel safe and secure enough to reconstruct their lives, or for the IDPs and refugees, to return to where they came from. For this to happen, clearing mines and raising awareness on mines among the locals are essential, as examples in other conflict-affected areas have shown.”
UNMAS Somalia’s Program Manager David Bax stated, “Since 2010, the contributions from the People of Japan have enabled targeted support to the Police Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams, building the trust between the Police and the communities they support by removing hazards to their day to day life. The EOD teams have been a source of pride for the new Government.”
“With this targeted training and support, the Police have been able to dispose of over a thousand explosive items in 2012, civilian teams supported by UNMAS have reached nearly forty thousand men, women, boys and girls with lifesaving awareness and avoidance information” Bax said.
Over the past five years, UNMAS Somalia have destroyed more than 22,000 items of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and anti-personnel mines. More than a million Somalis have received lifesaving awareness and safety information. Through the victim assistance that UNMAS provided, Somali medics have treated 5,381 trauma victims. Including the Somali National Police, AMISOM soldiers and civilians, UNMAS has trained 1,138 persons on Explosive Ordnance Clearance.
Today UNMAS supports programmes in Afghanistan, Chad, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lebanon, Libya, State of Palestine, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Western Sahara (MINURSO).