Landmine (representational photo)
Muthanna (IraqiNews.com) Civil Defense authorities have tracked the presence of cluster bombs at more than 128 square meters in the desert areas of Muthanna province, a source in the service was quoted saying.
The source told Almaalomah that civil defense teams in Samawa desert have begun removing those bombs after conducting the survey of leftovers from past wars, but said efforts exerted still need to be intensified.
“Looking at the contamination in Mosul we will need $50 million and $50 million for the rest of the country,” Paul Heslop, chief of planning and management section, U.N. Mine Action Service (UNMAS), told Reuters in February, commenting on finances needed for mines removal in Iraq.
“I could see Iraq needing an Afghanistan-style (demining) operation, which at its peak was 15,000 people about five years ago. You could put 5,000 on the ground in Iraq and they would be gainfully employed,” said Heslop.
Since 2015, UNMAS has cleared 390 priority locations in Fallujah and Ramadi in Anbar province, removing more than 2,600 explosive hazards from areas reclaimed from Islamic State.
Besides Iraq’s past wars, Islamic State militants, who seized several Iraqi cities in 2014, have also adopted the planting of landmines as a central defensive strategy against opposing government forces. Civilian deaths have been reported occasionally due to the explosion of those mines.