The UN in Sudan celebrates the first international day for mine awareness and assistance in mine actionn on 4 April 2006, and calls for more support to accelerate Humanitarian Mine Action programme
SUDAN, 03.04.2006 - While landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) continue to kill and maim people of Sudan, they also continue to hamper delivery of humanitarian aid, return of refugees and internally displaced people (IDP), implementation of humanitarian and development projects in this crucial post-war period, and ultimately, hindering the smooth implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
It is suspected that 21 of the 26 States have been affected by landmines and/or ERW, but the true extent and impact of Sudan's landmine problem remains unknown as country-wide survey of the problem has just started after the CPA and they are still ongoing. Due to lack of access survey capacity, victim information is very limited and current victim rate is unknown, although there are at least 2,200 landmines/ERW victims registered in the country. Even if current victim rate is fairly low, there is a high possibility of an increase in the number of victims caused by the movement of returnees not familiar with landmine/ERW situations in their original communities.
The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has commenced its Emergency Mine Action Programme in September 2002 at the request of the Government of Sudan and Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement/Army, and further the United Nations Mine Action Office (UNMAO) was established in March 2005 in response to the CPA and the UN Security Council Resolution 1590, to coordinate and implement the unified UN mine action activities of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), UNMAS, UNICEF, UNDP, WFP and UNHCR.
To date, 957 dangerous areas have been identified out of which 244 of have been cleared, 2,901,814m2 of land were cleared, 3,221km of roads verified as safe, and 617km of those were cleared, 1,162 Anti-Personnel mines, 649 Anti-Tank mines, 282,525 ERW destroyed. Under the overall coordination of UNICEF, 571,074 Sudanese people have received mine risk education (MRE), and the National Mine Action Authority (NMAA) was officially launched in March 2006 with the support of UNDP.
There is, however, more to be done in Sudan. Manuel Aranda da Silva, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator for Sudan, emphasises, "Without demining of return routes and communities, refugees and IDPs will not be able to come back or resume their life. Without demining, reconstruction of roads, schools, hospitals and any other post-war recovery and development project can be implemented. There are more than 7,000km of roads still need to be verified and cleared. More people need to be educated on risk of landmines and ERW and how to avoid them. More demining activities now, than later, will bring the immediate peace dividends to the people of Sudan".
"On this International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, I request donors to renew and even increase their support towards humanitarian mine action in Sudan, and to take into account the humanitarian and developmental impact of landmines and ERW at this crucial moment in Sudan. More support is also required to assist capacity development of national mine action authorities so that they can address the problem by themselves in the future. The UN continues to support the Government of National Unity and Government of South Sudan for their efforts to tackle the landmine and ERW problem, and their commitment towards the Ottawa Treaty".
Von: 03.04.2006, http://www.reliefweb.int