UN: 70 pct of explosive hazards “still underneath rubble” in Iraq

FILE PHOTO: Damaged buildings are seen in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Ari Jalal/File Photo

Baghdad ( – The United Nations on Sunday warned against bad effects of explosive hazards on the afflicted communities in Iraq, claiming that 70 per cent of explosives are still underneath the rubble.

“Explosive hazards continue to have an adverse effect on afflicted communities in Iraq. Our primary mandate is to facilitate the safe and voluntary return of IDPs to their homes. We cannot do that when an estimated 70 per cent of explosive hazards still lie underneath the rubble,” said Pehr Lodhammar, Senior Programme Manager of the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Iraq.

“Risk education and the clearance of explosive hazards always come together. To avoid accidents, it is crucial to teach affected communities which behaviors to adopt when encountering explosive hazards.” added Pehr Lodhammar.

Meanwhile, British Chargé d’Affaires in Baghdad John Tucknott said his country is the largest contributor to the Voluntary Trust Fund for Mine Action in Iraq.

“UK aid supports UNMAS in clearing explosive hazards, educating vulnerable communities on how to stay safe and helping to train Iraq’s National Demining Authority. It also supports search and clearance teams clearing important infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and roads, enabling Iraqis to safely return to their homes,” Tucknott said.

“We are particularly pleased that in Sinjar these teams are gender-balanced and include members belonging to different religions and ethnicities,” he added.

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