Sudan

Sudan: Swedish deminers deploy to Abyei

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Abyei, 22 October 2008 - The Swedish Rescue Services Agency (SRSA) sent an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team of 4 people, who will conduct a series of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) spot tasks in Abyei until the end of 2008.

This comes at the request of the UN Mine Action Office in Sudan (UNMAO), in order to assist the humanitarian activities supporting the return and reintegration of IDPs that were affected by the recent fighting.

While the rainy season is officially over, some areas are still wet and the grass is too tall for clearance operations to resume in parts of Abyei. The Mine Action Committee, coordinated through the UNMIS head of office in Abyei, will compile all requests for work and define the priorities.

The EOD team will start by clearing UXOs that have been reported at the UNICEF and UNDP compounds. They will also work on various NGOs and government compounds, as well as on Abyei's secondary schools and on Return, Rehabilitation, and Reintegration (RRR) centres for IDPs.

The SRSA team is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA - Swedish government), who have been partners of UNMAO since 2004.

UNMAO co-ordinates, facilitates, and oversees all mine action activities in Sudan. Second largest mine action programme in the world, the agency has an annual budget of $73 million. UNMAO works with the National Mine Action Authority, the Southern Sudan Demining Commission/Authority and UN, national and international agencies to reduce the impact of landmines and UXO in Sudan. Since the beginning of the programme in 2002, UNMAO's achievements have included:

- opening of more than 28,000 km of roads;

- clearance of almost 43 million square metres of land;

- destruction of 804,000 mines and UXO;

- and education of 2.3 million people about mine awareness issues.

For further information, please contact:

Severine Flores, UN Mine Action Office, Khartoum, Sudan severinef@sudan-map.org, tel: +249 (0) 912 174 833