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Mine Action News November 2015

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

UNMAS Supports the Delivery of Vital Humanitarian Aid

In September, UNMAS responded to an urgent request from WFP. WFP were planning to air drop food for the Bentiu Protection of Civilians (PoC) site which supports over 110,000 Internally Displaced People (IDP). WFP feared for the safety of people collecting the delivery as the area was impacted by the presence of Explosive Remnants of War (ERW). UNMAS deployed a team to make the area safe, enabling WFP to deliver 2,700 metric tons of food to the IDP. 

Photo credits: George Fominyen / WFP

Access To Resources Builds Community Resilience

UNMAS is supporting MAG’s operations in Eastern Equatoria state. There, a variety of assets including mechanical demining machines and manual deminers, have been used to clear vast swathes of land contaminated by landmines. The landmines block access to resources including water and agricultural land.  Each of the clearance teams has a Community Liaison (CL) team attached to it.  The CL teams deliver Risk Education (RE) to ensure that the community can mitigate explosive threats. They also work with women, men and children in the community to find out where those hazards are situated.

In Awee West, UNMAS tasked MAG to clear a minefield, prioritised because communities were living in very close proximity to the hazard.  UNMAS knew the presence of landmines was inhibiting the development of agricultural livelihoods and blocking access to a much needed water source. When communities witness explosive hazards being removed and destroyed, they are forthcoming with information about other hazardous areas. After being deployed to clear one minefield in Awee West, MAG have cleared four minefields, removing 64 Anti-Personnel mines, 8 Anti-Tank mines and 5 Unexploded Ordnance.  This photos  shows the Nyolo village Head in a handover ceremony which ensures the community know what work has been completed so that they can trust and make optimal use of the newly cleared land.

The village headman stated at the handover ceremony:  “Now we are free, before it was like being in prison. We couldn’t go anywhere and we were very scared all the time. Now people can resettle, have water and grow enough food to eat. There is even enough food to sell which makes a big difference to us’. The stream is shown at the bottom right corner of the adjacent picture.

Photo credits: Sean Sutton / MAG


Supporting Recovery from Landmine Accidents

As a child of 13 years old, Beneth was recruited as a soldier. During combat activities, Beneth fell victim to a landmine and lost one of his legs. The impact of this tragic accident was compounded by the reaction of his community in Yei, where Beneth was ostracised.  With funding from UNMAS, Handicap International worked with Beneth to address the various challenges he faced.  In addition to psycho-social care, Beneth was fitted with a prosthesis. Later Beneth was supported to develop a small agricultural business. He now has a small plot where he grows corn, peanuts and a range of other vegetables depending on the season, which he then successfully sells in Otogo market. His improved livelihood options and mobility has improved his status within the community and he is now able to support his family. In August 2015, Beneth joined a local self-help group where he enjoys giving advice to other people with disabilities and to the community at large on disability issues.

Case study and photograph credits: Omar Gamdullaev Handicap International.

Enabling Access to Education

In Bentiu, UNICEF is working to ensure that children have access to education. UNICEF learned that some of the school sites were located in areas where armed combat had taken place and in some cases, the school buildings had been used as shelter for soldiers. UNICEF asked UNMAS to survey four school areas, to ensure that children could be safely educated. UNMAS deployed teams to deliver Risk Education to the children and carried out comprehensive surveys to locate explosive hazards from thier vicinity. 210 children learned how to recognise and mitigate explosive hazards as a result of which the children reported the presence of a grenade in the Suk Saba area of Bentiu which was quickly removed and destroyed. 

Photo : UNMAS team delivers Risk Education to school children

Photo Credits: Sean Sutton/ MAG

UNMAS Press Conference

UNMAS Programme Manager, Tim Lardner, gave a press conference at the end of September to local and international media in Juba, presenting UNMAS work.  The event was attended by more than ten media outlets. For more photos, please visit: http://www.unmas.org/southsudan/photo-galer/photo-gallery

UNMAS Celebrates UN Day

On 24 October UNMAS gathered with UNMISS, other UN bodies and key stakeholders to celebrate UN Day in Rajaf East. Months before, UNMAS had cleared the same site to enable the development of a Civil - Military agricultural project. Under the 70th anniversary banner – Strong UN, Better World – UNMAS demonstrated the use of explosive detection dogs and mechanical demining machines.

For more photos of the day, please visit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/unmissmultimedia/22441258545/in/album-72157657943701834/

Photo Credits: JC Mcilwaine / UNMISS

Minewolf Mechanical Demining Machine

Photo credits : UNMAS

Explosive Detection Dog Display 

Photo credits : UNMAS

Explanation of demining methods at UN Day

Photo credits : UNMAS

Where We Currently Work

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

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 view them at the following link: http://unmas.org/southsudan/index.php/maps

Mine Action in Numbers January - October 2015

Area Released: 11,067,223 square metres

Devices Destroyed: 25,910

Roads Opened: 2,306 kilometres

Risk Education Delivered to: 445,305 men, women, boys and girls

Hazardous Areas Closed: 1,679

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.