Handicap International Responds to Massive Explosion in Mozambique (Mozambique)

London, UK - 29 March 2007. On 22 March a series of blasts occurred at a military armoury killing 101 people and injuring close to 500.


Rockets and artillery shells rained down on populated areas, some of them exploding in people's homes. About 20 tonnes of military equipment, some of it dating back to the country's civil war in the 1970s and 1980s, was stored at the site. After the explosion of the arms depot it was discovered that the force of the blast had scattered unexploded munitions across the city.

Handicap International recognized the danger to the local population and immediately brought in an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) team to assist the affected areas. Thus far, 122 sites have been inspected and 139 unexploded ordinances have been identified. Additionally, 57 community workers have been trained and have immediately begun alerting and educating the local population of the danger. Participating community workers are members of the Save the Children, Rede Came, Reencontro and the Mozambique Red Cross organisations.

Present in Mozambique since 1986, Handicap International has a long history of working with local populations. Handicap International is currently operating in the three central provinces of Inhambane, Sofala and Manica. To assure the best use of its teams and resources in the area of demining, Handicap International coordinates with and supports the National Demining Institute of Mozambique (IND). These demining and EOD teams deal with the removal and de-activation of explosive devices such as unexploded bombs, mortars and isolated landmines.

Notes for editors: Handicap International is an international charity working in 60 countries worldwide in the fields of rehabilitation, inclusion of disabled people and in disability prevention, including landmines and cluster munitions clearance. Handicap International is co-founder of the Cluster Munition Coalition and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which was awarded the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.

For more information, please contact Béatrice Cami at Handicap International UK Email: beatrice.cami@hi-uk.org, Tel: 0870 774 3737, www.handicap-international.org.uk

[ Any views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not of Reuters. ]

Von: 29.03.2007 www.alertnet.org

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