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State of Palestine

School students in Gaza attend interactive theater production featuring ERW Risk Education. Photo: UNMAS

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ABOUT

UNMAS intervention in Gaza reduces the threat and impact of existing explosive remnants of war (ERW) and mitigates the impact of future conflicts on Gaza communities by addressing the following: (i) protection of civilians from current and future ERW threats; (ii) support to reconstruction through ERW risk mitigation measures and EOD support; and (iii) emergency preparedness to respond to escalation in conflict.

ACTIVITIES

PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS: Since the 2014 conflict, UNMAS has provided over 3,000 training sessions to enable 104,500 UN staff, humanitarian workers, IDPs, engineers, construction workers and other at-risk populations including 66,000 children to identify and safely respond to ERW contamination. Within the Protection Cluster, UNMAS leads the ERW/Mine Action sub-cluster, coordinating all NGOs and UN entities to ensure beneficiaries receive timely and targeted support. 

SUPPORT TO RECONSTRUCTION: As suspected presence of ERW impedes the clean-up and reconstruction of vital housing and infrastructure, UNMAS delivers an ERW risk mitigation process - a systematic and investigative process that involves identifying explosive hazards, predicting possible incidents, and determining the impact of hazards and mitigation measures that can be implemented or planned - to ensure that reconstruction and rubble removal are taking place safely and without delay. The process involves the provision of on-site ERW training sessions, quality assurance, risk assessments and EOD support to partners’ rubble removal, reconstruction and infrastructure projects. UNMAS intervention enabled the safe delivery of 87 reconstruction projects for roads, public facilities, public parks, water wells, desalination plants and other infrastructure across Gaza, for an estimated value of USD 57 million. This dangerous and necessary work led the Secretary-General to honour, in November 2016, two UNMAS Gaza bomb disposal experts with the Courage Award.

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS: The United Nations Special Coordinator for Middle East Peace Process, Mladenov, has repeatedly warned that, without resolution of the structural sources of conflict – i.e. the lack of political settlement and the continued blockade of Gaza - the spectre of recurrent hostilities between Israel and Gaza will persist. UNMAS in Gaza maintains emergency preparedness that is in concert with contingency planning of UN partners. A major component of emergency preparedness that UNMAS has begun to work on in Gaza, is specific risk education focused on protection and pre-conflict preparedness to ensure that Gazan communities have the tools and skillsets to deal with a new escalation of hostilities.

FUNDING

Since 2014, UNMAS has received USD 8.5 million from Japan, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, the United States, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, South Korea, Poland and Estonia. Until the end of 2018, UNMAS is seeking an additional USD 0.8 million as part of a multi-donor funded programme.

Updated: August 2017 

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IMPACT

  • 968 site-specific risk assessments and continuous on-site explosive remnants of war (ERW) safety training and quality assurance allowed the removal of 1 million tons of rubble from heavily contaminated areas without a single ERW accident, despite hundreds of ERW items found in the rubble.
  • ERW risk assessments, quality assurance and 24/7 explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) provided in support to 87 reconstruction projects of roads, public facilities, public parks, water wells, desalination plants and other infrastructure in over 25 municipalities across Gaza, enabled the safe delivery of these projects.
  • Over 230 EOD callouts led to the recovery and destruction of 348 ERW from UN premises, reconstruction sites and civilian structures.
  • 149 aircraft bombs with a net explosive quantity of 29 tons neutralized and destroyed, thus preventing ERW accidents and harvesting of explosives to make homemade rockets.
  • 100,000+ UN staff, humanitarian workers, IDPs, engineers, construction workers and other at-risk populations trained to identify and safely respond to ERW contamination.

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