The German Federal Foreign Office has announced a contribution of EUR 5 million to the Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action to support the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) emergency response in Iraq. Activities funded by Germany include survey and clearance activities to ensure that prioritised locations within retaken areas are free from explosive hazards.
The scale and complexity of explosive hazard contamination in retaken areas in Iraq is without precedent. Explosive hazards, in particular improvised explosive devices (IEDs), pose an immediate threat to the lives of thousands of forcibly displaced Iraqis who want to return home to a normal life. The German Ambassador to Iraq, Mr. Franz Josef Kremp said, “UNMAS emergency response activities play a pivotal role in laying the groundwork for successful humanitarian assistance and stabilisation efforts, where Germany focuses its assistance to Iraq.”
The work of UNMAS is critical to the implementation of the Government of Iraq and United Nations stabilization plans, it enables humanitarian assistance and facilitates the return of displaced people. So far this year, UNMAS has conducted emergency survey and clearance of explosive remnants of war (ERW) and IEDs at key infrastructure sites in Fallujah and conducted threat impact assessments in Ramadi and Fallujah.
These actions are complemented by a significant context-specific risk education and capacity enhancement programme. UNMAS also coordnates mine action priorities among national and regional authorities, as well as the international community.
UNMAS is preparing to expand emergency operations in the coming months in response to the unfolding situation in Mosul. Emergency survey and clearance of ERW and IEDs will guide humanitarian partners to safe areas and support civilians fleeing Mosul by identifying suitable areas for temporary settlement.
In 2016, Germany is one of the largest donors to UNMAS committing over EUR 6.5 million to UNMAS activities for Colombia, the Territory of Western Sahara and for Iraq. This funding is essential to saving lives, enabling humanitarian access and supporting stabilization activities in some of the most affected communities around the world.