Facebook icon Twitter icon Forward icon


If you are having trouble viewing the photos and figures in this update, please try the web version (link in top left-hand corner.)

Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action Day

4 April marks the “International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action”. This year's global theme is "More than Mines" signifying that mine action includes activities to address an increasingly wide range of explosive hazards, weapons and ammunition, risk education, and victim assistance. Mine action makes it possible for peacekeepers to carry out patrols, for humanitarian agencies to deliver assistance, and for ordinary citizens to live without  fear that a single misstep could cost them their lives.

To celebrate the day, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) organised a formal reception on 1 April in Juba, South Sudan attended by senior members of the diplomatic community, South Sudanese ministers, senior military and civilian staff from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), as well as senior members of the United Nations (UN) Country Team. The reception opened with speeches from the UNMISS Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ellen Loej and the UNMAS Programme Manager, Lance Malin. The UNICEF Country Representative, Jonathan Veitch and the Chairperson of the National Mine Action Authority also addressed the distinguished guests with remarks to honour the occasion.

On 2 April, UNMAS organised a march from the Dr John Garang Mausoleum to the Nyakeron Cultural Center in remembrance of  all of those affected by landmines and remnants of war. It was followed by a half-day event at the cultural centre, hosted by the National Mine Action Authority in partnership with UNMAS and various mine action organisations. The event consisted of live demonstrations of demining methods such as explosive detection dogs, mechanical clearance machines, and manual clearance methodology. The event also included speeches from senior government officials and children’s competitions with small prizes for those participating.

UNMAS also held an event in Bor, Jonglei State, on 2 April with UNICEF and local partner Christian Missionary Initiative. The event included a Mine Risk Education (MRE) session, a quiz on MRE including prizes for the children participating, and a football match between the school children.

For more photos, please go to http://www.unmas.org/southsudan/photo-galer/photo-gallery/.

March on 2 April. Photo Credits: JC Mcilwaine/UNMISS

March on 2 April. Photo Credits: Iulia Toma/UNMAS

Vice President, National Mine Action Authority Chairperson being given information on explosive remnants of war. Photo Credits: JC Mcilwaine/UNMISS

UNMAS working to ensure safety at permanent humanitarian hub site in Upper Nile State

During work on the Humanitarian Hub extension area in Malakal on 20 February, staff from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) found an item of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO). An UNMAS officer promptly responded to remove the projectile so that the area could be safe for IOM to resume work on the site.

Following clearance throughout Malakal county and on the Malakal to Tonga route, UNMAS conducted a demolition on 21 March (Photo Credits UNMAS). This demolition destroyed all the UXO found during one month's work.

UXO prepared for demolition in Malakal

Support to World Food Programme in Warrap State

In March, an UNMAS team completed survey of the Kwajock to Lanyaker road (in Warrap State) so that the World Food Programme (WFP) road contractors could carry out rehabilitation of the road safely and without any risk of UXO.

At present it is difficult to use the road as it is quite narrow and because of the difficult Jur River crossing near Kwajock (as can be seen in the photo. Photo Credits TDI).

The UNMAS team successfully crossed the River Jur and then carried out Non-Technical Survey (NTS) at seventeen bomas along the road.

This was the first visit of a mine action team in the area and the local population was eager to speak with the UNMAS team. In particular, the people highlighted the difficulties they have in obtaining enough food to survive.

When UNMAS completed the survey, they were able to give WFP the go-ahead for route rehabilitation. Once the road and bridge across the river are constructed, WFP will be able to distribute more food to the area and the population will be able to travel easily to markets in Kwajock.

Nomadic cattle herders in Eastern Equatoria can now enjoy greater freedom of movement

Khor Kaya (between Juba and Kajo Keji) - Eastern Equatoria, on the western bank of the Nile, was an important river ferry crossing point during the civil war between the Sudan Armed Forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). UNMAS has a team based in this area to clear mines and unexploded ordnance leftover from the war.

For a long time, nomadic cattle herders, who settled in Khor Kaya, have lived with the threat of mines and UXO in the area.
Malweth Manyang (left second from the front. Photo Credits G4S) is the head of one extended family of cattle herders who recently set up camp close to the UNMAS task site.

Malweth and his extended family, almost a hundred people, live a life of constant migration to graze and water their livestock. Almost 2,000 animals move with them. This pattern has been disrupted by fighting in the north of the country over the last year. Unable to access grazing areas where there is fighting, many nomadic families have been forced to move south into unfamiliar areas to seek safer pasture.

“I’m happy that this area is being cleared. It will make this area safer for our families and herds. There is no water for another 50km, and this area is the only place where it is easy to get to the river, so we have to use it. We know that the SPLA fought here, and we know there are dangerous things around, but we have no choice”, he said.

UNMAS work in the area ensures that Malweth and his family can move  safely without fear that it will cost their lives.

More challenges for Route Assessment Teams in Unity State

As soon as the UNMAS route assessment and clearance team arrived in Unity State, they were tasked to go to Mayom for a challenging assignment: assessing roads around what has been a troubled area, not only due to security, but also weather.

The normal challenges of assessments and clearance operations were compounded by the difficulty of accessing some areas where the past rainy season completely washed out the roads.

Despite this, UNMAS continues to work to open routes and roads thereby bringing humanitarian aid to the communities. So far in 2015, UNMAS cleared 670 kilometres of road in Unity State.

Where We Currently Work

The map above, generated from the Information Management System for Mine Action database (IMSMA), shows where mine action teams were located at the end of March 2015.

Please note UNMAS can supply other maps upon request, including a map of all hazardous areas in our database, maps of accidents and maps of hazards cleared. You can also see them at the following link: http://www.unmas.org/southsudan/useful-links/maps/

Contact Us

For further information, please contact Iulia Toma at iulia.toma@unmas.org or iuliat@unops.org.

We would also like to hear any suggestions you may have on our reporting and let us know if there are any issues you would be interested in reading about in these updates.