Tuesday, 08 August 2017 09:22

One year Fallujah – Supporting stabilization and reconstruction through addressing explosive hazards

7 August 2017: “The city of Fallujah is slowly getting back to normal day by day and there is hope,” said Pehr Lodhammar, United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) Iraq Senior Programme Manager.

Over a year ago, on 26 June 2016, Fallujah was retaken from Da’esh. Booby-traps and other improvised explosive devices (IEDs) where left behind causing victims among the returning civilians. Through survey, clearance and explosive hazard awareness campaigns, UNMAS supported stabilization and reconstruction efforts to enable the population to return to their homes safely.

Speaking for the local government in Falluja, Mayor Issa Modgen commented, “UNMAS contributed greatly to the clearance of infrastructure and making rehabilitation possible. All these sites are cleared from explosives now and provide services to the people of Fallujah.”

Awareness of potential explosive threats saves lives. UNMAS provided mine risk education sessions in IDP camps and Fallujah neighborhoods including Ramadi and Habbaniya to returning civilians, warning them of the explosive hazards. Through over 4,900 life saving risk education sessions through partners, UNMAS and partners reached over 127,000 beneficiaries of which 89,400 children and 19,200 women. A mother of a family who returned to Fallujah in 2016 used her new knowledge when she, upon return to her home, saw wires sticking out of the mud oven. Suspecting it could be an IED she warned her husband and children to leave the house, reported to explosive experts who could confirm that it was an IED placed inside the oven and later cleared the item.

UNMAS responded with security risk assessment missions into the city starting July 2016 with follow up survey and clearance in August 2016. In the last year UNMAS conducted 263 tasks in Fallujah working on water points, power plants, sewage sites, schools and healthcare facilities.

One of the tasks was the General Hospital in Fallujah. Nine operating theaters where destroyed during Da’esh occupation. After UNMAS conducted survey, reconstruction of the hospital buildings could start and staff could return in September 2016. The hospital is now functional again with 300 beds and 900 staff of which 65 specialist doctors and 30 resident doctors. The hospital in Fallujah serves a community of over 800,000 people. An average of 10,000 people a month receive treatment including major surgery.

In Fallujah UNMAS cleared 5,247,655 sqm over the last year removing 313 IEDs and 613 Explosive Remnants of War (ERW). Through this UNMAS is enabling humanitarian assistance and stabilization activities to take place so that key infrastructure, schools, health care centers and roads can be restored.

The work of UNMAS in Fallujah was made possible through the generous support from Australia, Denmark, Estonia, the European Union, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Mr. Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Iraq Senior Programme Manager
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  • Agency: UNMAS

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