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Syria

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ABOUT

Entering its eighth year, the conflict in Syria has been characterized by the pervasive use of explosive weaponry in populated areas, compounding a complex humanitarian crisis. Since January 2015, there have been on average 144 reported explosive incidents per day. The resulting explosive hazard contamination poses a serious threat to Syrians and humanitarian response activities. According to the UN 2018 Humanitarian Needs Overview, 8.2 million men, women, and children are now living in communities reporting explosive hazards and are exposed to the threat of debilitating injuries and death on a daily basis. 43% of communities in sub-districts affected by conflict reported the presence of explosive hazards. Contamination from the ongoing conflict includes explosive remnants of war (ERW), improvised explosive devices (IEDs), unexploded ordnance (UXO), cluster-munitions, and landmines. The destruction or contamination of key infrastructure, such as hospitals, has deprived civilians of basic services, and the presence of explosive hazards is a lethal barrier to movement, the delivery of humanitarian aid, and to those seeking refuge from violence.

Mine action is an imperative humanitarian need in Syria and the overall objective of UNMAS Syria Response is to reduce the impact of explosive hazards on civilians and humanitarian operators. Due to severe constraints on the clearance of explosive hazards to International Mine Action Standards (IMAS), UNMAS Syria Response is focused on preventative action: sponsoring CIS to identify, mark, and cordon off hazards; delivering RE sessions and materials through implementing partners and integrating RE across the wider humanitarian response, providing overall coordination for the mine action sector to address the most urgent needs, and now, the implementation of victim assistance for survivors and their families. UNMAS Syria Response supports other humanitarian organisations through technical support and oversight, the delivery of RE training, information sharing and the development of tailored RE material. In line with the (draft) 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan for Syria, the Mine Action response aims to support and expand RE, CIS, VA, and explosive hazard removal activities.

ACTIVITIES

FUNDING 

UNMAS is appealing for USD 14.8 million for coordination, risk education, impact survey, victim assistance, and clearance activities for all humanitarian hub: Gaziantep, Amman, North-East Syria, and Damascus in line with the draft 2018 HRP. Upon approval of the 2018 HRP’s and in accordance with UN Security Council Resolutions, the activities and funding appeal may vary to reflect humanitarian activities included in the response to the Syrian crisis. While UNMAS Syria Response has secured core funding for 2018, the Programme is seeking further support for mine action activities for areas most in need. UNMAS Syria Response is supported with contributions from Japan, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, Estonia, and the OCHA Humanitarian Pooled Fund for Syria.

Updated: March 2018

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IMPACT

  • In 2015, UNMAS Syria Response established the Mine Action Sub Cluster (MASC) to ensure that mine action is fully integrated into the broader humanitarian response and is recognised as an integral part of the humanitarian emergency response by relevant stakeholders. Mine action is a critical component of the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and essential to reducing the impact of explosive hazards on civilians and humanitarian workers.
  • Risk Education (RE) is one of the most widespread protection activities in Syria. Since January 2017, UNMAS Syria Response, humanitarian partners and public service organisations have reached 2,627,016 beneficiaries and trained 15,337 risk educators across Syria.
  • In 2017, surveying hazardous areas, marking and cordoning off explosive hazards provided a direct benefit to 9,168 people in communities affected by the conflict. For this, UNMAS Syria Response and humanitarian mine action partners continue to implement Contamination Impact Surveys (CIS), helping to ensure the safety of civilians and humanitarian actors by identifying potentially hazardous or safe areas.
  • Information Management (IM) is central to UNMAS Syria Response’s core coordination function. Explosive hazard data provided to the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) database, enables needs-based prioritization; efficiently tailoring the response to specific needs. IM is vitally important to increasing the effectiveness of the sector response and laying the foundations for future activities.
  • UNMAS and humanitarian mine action partners have provided Victim Assistance (VA) services, from medical referrals to prosthetics and rehabilitation support, to 1,539 people – 93% of which were internally displaced persons (IDPs). VA remains severely underfunded and under-implemented to answer needs across Syria.