Huffington Post August 10. 2012
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Authorities say a 6-year-old boy died when he triggered a landmine while collecting wood with his father in the forests of central Bosnia. The father was wounded in the blast.
Aldina Ahmic, spokeswoman for the police in central Bosnia, says the area the two were exploring Friday is a marked minefield some 50 kilometers north of Sarajevo.
Ahmic says the boy died instantly. His father, 37, is being treated at a Sarajevo hospital for serious shrapnel wounds.
Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war turned it into one of the world’s most mine-infested countries. Clearing the explosive devices is costly and complicated.
According to Bosnia’s Mine Action Center, 1,674 people have been killed or injured by mines since the war ended.
Abandoned weapons that were once part of toppled dictator Moamer Kadhafi’s arsenal pose an ongoing and serious threat to civilians in Libya, warned a report published by Harvard University on Thursday
Times Live August 2, 2012
“These weapons may have been abandoned, but their ability to harm civilians remains intact,” said Bonnie Docherty, leader of the research team sent to Libya by Harvard Law School and partner organisation CIVIC.
Weapons left behind after last year’s conflict range from bullets and mortars to torpedoes and surface-to-air missiles, creating an “explosive situation” in a country with a weak central government, the report said.
“The sheer scale of weapons here is shocking,” co-author Nicolette Boehland told AFP in Tripoli.
“Arms are spilling out of hundreds of inadequately secured bunkers. Other weapons have spread across the country to militia stockpiles in urban centers, museums, fields and even homes,” she added.
Threats to civilians include stockpiles at risk of explosion in or near populated areas, civilian curiosity and access to contaminated sites and munitions, plus the harvesting of abandoned weapons for sale or personal use.
Civilians are endangered during the clearance of munition by local communities that lack professional training and the display of weapons as mementos of war, the report found.
In one instance, in the western town of Dafniya, where a brigade kept weapons in some 22 shipping containers, an explosion spread so much dangerous material that it endangered the whole community.
Steve Joubert of JMACT (Joint Mine Action Coordination Team) was quoted as saying that there are “now more weapons than people in Misrata,” in reference to Libya’s third-largest city, which suffered a brutal siege in 2011.
The report noted that the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and international organisations have shouldered the brunt of the work in clearing ordnance and advising local communities on stockpile management.
Citing UNMAS, Boehland said that as of June, there had been at least 208 casualties, including 54 fatalities, from explosive remnants of war. The toll included 72 children either wounded or killed.
“Children are especially attracted to weapons because they are brightly coloured or look like toys,” she said, noting that the number of casualties is likely to be higher than those documented so far.
The report called on Libya’s newly elected authorities to develop a national strategy to secure leftover ordnance and manage stockpiles. It urged international organisations, notably NATO, to help out.
NATO’s bombings of ammunition bunkers during the conflict last year “spread ordnance across open fields, thus creating a more dangerous and difficult problem,” it said.
DanChurchAid (DCA) is seeking a visionary, dynamic Head of Operations for its Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) programmes around the globe. DCA is offering a job that will make a difference and improve the lives of people living at risk from Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) and assist in the reconstruction of societies after conflict.
DCA has operational HMA programmes in Angola, Burma/Myanmar, DR Congo, Laos, Lebanon, Libya and Sudan, implementing the entire range of HMA activities.
The Head of Operations (HO) will be responsible for the coordination and supervision of all operational mine action aspects of the DCA HMA programmes. The HO will be comfortable in dealing with all external actors in strategic global HMA at all levels from UN agencies to local partner organisations. The challenging role extends to strategic advice, strategic planning, operational supervision, recruitment, training, impact measurement and ownership and operation of DCA’s HMA quality assurance mechanism.
Submit your application Please upload your letter of motivation, your CV and latest relevant diploma to www.noedhjaelp.dk/job or http://www.danchurchaid.org/get-involved/jobs/jobs-in-denmark no later than Thursday 9 August 2012. The interviews with the shortlisted candidates will be scheduled for Monday 20 August 2012. Initial interviews may take place by Skype, and relevant candidate(s) may be invited for a further interview in Copenhagen later in August.
For further information about this position please contact Head of Mine Action, Mr. Richard MacCormac at +45 2969 9138 or acting Head of Operations, Mr. M.J. Fred Pavey at +45 2969 9125. DCA promotes equal opportunity in terms of gender, race/ethnicity and belief and encourages all qualified and interested candidates to apply.
WASHINGTON Inter Press Service July 10, 2012
Disarmament activists and former U.S. ambassadors are urging Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to increase U.S. aid to Laos to clear millions of tonnes of unexploded ordinance (UXO) left by U.S. bombers on its territory during the Indochina War during her brief visit to the country Wednesday.
The visit, scheduled to last only a few hours on a hectic eight-nation tour by Clinton designed in part to underline the Barack Obama administration’s “pivot” from the Middle East to Asia, will nonetheless be historic. No sitting U.S. secretary of state has visited Laos since 1955.
Sources here said Clinton is considering a 100-million-dollar aid commitment to support bomb-clearing efforts over a 10-year period. Such a commitment would more than double the nearly 47 million dollars Washington has provided in UXO assistance since 1997 when it first began funding UXO programmes in Laos.
Iraq Business News June 27, 2012
Hans Nijkamp, the head of Shell‘s operations in Iraq, has highlighted the success in removing explosive remnants of war (ERW) at the Majnoon oilfield, in which Shell has a 45% stake.
Speaking at CWC‘s Iraq Petroleum 2012 conference in London last week, Nijkamp said that more than 12 million square metres had been cleared so far, and work was proceeding at a rate of around 70,000 m2 per day.
Over 250 staff from 4 different contractors were involved in the operation, and well over 13,000 items have been removed and disposed of through controlled demolition by the Iraqi Army. The largest single item was a 500 kg explosive.
Shell’s other partners in the Majnoon venture are Petronas (30% share) and the Missan Oil Company, representing the Iraqi State (25% share).
The New York Times Africa June 25, 2012
The release by NATO of a list of unexploded munitions from the alliance’s military action in Libya has been both welcomed as a step toward postconflict accountability and criticized as a half-measure that falls short of protecting civilians and specialists trying to rid the country of its hazards.
The United Nations said this month that NATO, in an exchange not publicly disclosed, had shared details of 313 possible sites of unexploded ordnance from the alliance’s action against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s government last year. The alliance provided the latitude and longitude for each site, the weight of the ordnance and a description of the means of delivery (fixed-wing aircraft, helicopter gunship or naval vessel).
With the widespread use of sophisticated targeting sensors, with which aircrews record infrared video of the impact of a missile or bomb, air forces have a greater capacity than ever to know exactly where weapons struck and when they have failed to function properly. Such data is routinely gathered as part of what militaries call battle damage assessment. It is used to determine whether a target has been destroyed or should be hit again, and to assess the reliability and effectiveness of various missiles and bombs.
The data also presents options for humanitarian and cleanup efforts. When shared, it can allow for governments and mine-clearing organizations to alert residents of specific risks at specific places, and to focus efforts on removing high-explosive remnants of war. Its existence also suggests an opening for Western militaries to adopt a new standard for responsibility in air campaigns.
For these reasons, the United Nations, which had asked NATO for the data last year, welcomed the list, even though it contained limited information.
The New York Times June 13, 2012
The death of an Estonian explosive ordnance disposal technician in Libya this spring illustrates the continuing problem of loose weapons stockpiles almost a year after Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi was driven from power.
The technician, Kaido Keerdo, died in March while examining unexploded munitions scattered near a police compound and checkpoint in Ad Dafniyah as part of his work for the nongovernmental group Danish Church Aid.
The checkpoint had been fought over by rival Libyan militias three nights before. The groups were quarreling over access to 22 shipping containers of Qaddafi-era munitions, according to the aid group’s investigation, the findings of which were described this week to The New York Times.
One of the containers was struck during the fighting and caught fire. The explosion that followed ruptured at least 11 containers, heaving into the air a poorly stored collection of grenades, rockets and mortar rounds, some of which landed almost 500 yards away.
The munitions, once seen by Libya’s armed groups as instruments for breaking free from internal repression and making the country safe, were then scattered near houses, a mosque and a school along Libya’s main coastal road. The inadequately trained militias and ad hoc police officers had stored rockets and shells with fuzes inserted, a configuration that compounded their dangers.
Among this refuse were 122-millimeter rockets containing Type 84 land mines, one of the most volatile weapons in Libya’s prewar stocks. Mr. Keerdo, a demining team leader, was surveying the police compound and apparently knelt near one of these rockets. At least one mine exploded, killing him instantly.
Khaleej Times Qadijah Irshad / 6 June 2012
COLOMBO — A 15-year-old boy was killed when a bomb belonging to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) exploded in his hands at a beach in Nainateevu, Jaffna.
Investigations have revealed that the ‘Arul bomb’ which the boy had picked up on the beach 10 minutes away from his home, was corroded and was unidentifiable as an explosive.
The bomb was a popular explosive used by the LTTE during the three-decade war against the Sri Lankan army.
“We were able to determine that the Arul bomb the boy had picked up was heavily corroded to an extent that the boy could not identify it as an explosive. We believe it might have exploded when he tried to clear the corrosion because he would have thought it was something of value,” said Military Spokesperson Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya.
The parents of the boy said that their son had the habit of combing the beach for interesting items every morning.
Working in the fields isn’t typically considered a dangerous job. But with plantations still littered with unexploded ordnance, some Cambodians are looking for companies to step up.
The Diplomat May 30, 2012
Frustration grips Von Tha’s face as she fumbles with a hand that no longer works. Ron Run says that seeing his wife’s physical and mental struggle has, for him, been one of the hardest parts of the family’s ordeal. Two months since the explosion at a cassava plantation in Kratie, and the group of five are still feeling its effects. It’s a case that underscores the danger for workers at contaminated sites.
In Cambodia, companies and landowners can choose whether or not to clear areas used for commercial purposes such as agriculture, mining or ecotourism. With improved access to previously difficult to reach areas comes increased economic interest in utilising the land. Accidents on land used for enterprise illustrate the importance of ensuring known-risk areas are cleared of explosive remnants of war (ERW) before workers can enter the site and start tilling the soil.
at Danish Demining Group May 29, 2012
The Trans Federal Government in Somalia has decided to join the Mine Ban Treaty of the United Nations. The mine action unit within the Danish Refugee Council recognizes and supports the development.
Somalia is one of the regions in Africa most contaminated by mines. As the last African country to officially ban use of landmines, Somalia has now agreed to destroy all stockpiles no later than 1 October 2016 and to clear all contaminated land no later than 1 October 2022.
In addition to this, Somalia is obliged to provide assistance to the thousands of mine victims. Somalia has never produced mines, but it is assessed that around 200 communities are contaminated by mines.
At least 159 casualties of landmines and explosive remnants of war in Somalia (excluding Somaliland) where recorded in 2010, including 19 children killed and 86 children injured. The true casualty figure is likely to be much higher.
“Joining the international Mine Ban Treaty happens despite ongoing conflict and shows that Somalia now recognizes the humanitarian impact of landmines,” says Klaus Ljørring Pedersen, DDG Regional Director for Horn of Africa & Yemen
InterCross ICRC From the Field May 30, 2012
The ICRC in Libya started to address the humanitarian consequences of explosive remnants of war immediately after the figting ended in April 2011.
In an effort to protect returning residents, our explosive ordnance disposal teams entered Sirte and Bani Walid at a time when unexploded ordnance caused on average one casualty a day.
They proceeded to train hundreds of Libyans in risk education, including members of the Libyan Red Crescent. These volunteers now work in local communities in the regions and cities most affected by the problem.
The total number of mines and explosive remnants of war in Libya is unknown but the weapons continue to kill and maim, primarily children and young men.
The EEOC granted a former Ronco Consulting Employee and American Injured War Zone Contractor the Right to Sue under the Americans with Disabilities Act after investigating the complaint.
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities.
Even those who were disabled due to the negligence of the company in question.
All Africa May 15, 2012
United States Africa Command
Kisangani — Years after the Great War of Africa ended, remnants of war are still scattered throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the aftermath of one of the deadliest conflicts worldwide since World War II.
In an effort to help the DRC reduce the number of land mines and unexploded ordnance, four soldiers from the 184th Ordnance Battalion (EOD), out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky provided a train-the-trainer course with 11 Forces Armees de la Republique Democratique du Congo (FARDC) deminers to improve their explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) skills.
This engagement, which is part of the Humanitarian Mine Action program, took place April 6 through 27, 2012 at Camp Base in Kisangani, the capitol of the Orientale Province in the DRC.
The main objective of this exercise was to improve the FARDC deminers’ EOD skill sets to a point where they can set up a sustainable program in the DRC and to improve relations between the DRC and the United States, said Captain Charles A. Schnake, the exercise officer in charge.
“The HMA mission gives EOD technicians a chance to share lessons-learned with our allies and to sustain amiable relations. It’s also an opportunity for U.S. soldiers to experience a once in a lifetime mission to work in new environments. It was important to me because it gave me the chance to make a lasting impact in the sustainability of life-saving skill sets with our partners overseas,” Schnake, a Honolulu, Hawaii native said.
The first three days of the engagement focused on assessing the level of proficiency for the FARDC deminers. After their progress was evaluated, the Congolese soldiers were taught ordnance identification, explosives safety and theory, metal detector operations and demolitions.
Staff Sergeant Robert L. Hayslett, the head instructor and noncommissioned officer in charge of the mission, said he enjoyed seeing the DRC military eager to learn, broaden their skill set and accomplish the mission.
“The United States has the resources and the personnel with the experience available to teach these critical skills to these soldiers, it’s nice to see the U.S. has a vested interest in the area. My favorite part was the interaction with the foreign students, getting to interact with a foreign military.
This event is an opportunity that not a lot of soldiers have, and we can now take these partnering experiences back and use them abroad,” Hayslett, a Newville, Pa. native said.
During the 21-day program of instruction, both sides were able to take away important lessons from the experience.
Careful who you follow….
A United Nations Mine Action Employee has filed a lawsuit against Ronco Consulting Corporation for negligence after stepping on a landmine resulting in an immediate below the knee amputation in an area previously cleared by and certified clear of landmines by Ronco Consulting.
The United Nations board of inquiry found that Ronco failed to find the mine that injured Mr Fartham as well as three other mines.
The complaint states that Ronco Consulting, acting through it’s agents and/or employee’s, breached it’s professional duty of care to Fantham and did not exercise the reasonable care and skill expected of professional mine clearance companies.
The Daily Star March 20, 2012
BEIRUT: Lebanon’s efforts to recover from rampant land mines and cluster bombs in the south have received a new donation from Italy, it was announced Friday.
The Italian Foreign Ministry’s Development Cooperation Department has approved a financial contribution of 500,000 euros ($677,350) to the UNDP for the Lebanon Mine Action Program (LMAP), the ministry said in a statement. The initiative aims at empowering communities affected by cluster bombs, through a demining program to reduce the risk of death and injuries and alleviate the socio-economic impact of cluster bombs.