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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) improved human security by mitigating threat of current and future ERW threats; (ii) support to reconstruction through ERW risk mitigation measures and EOD support; and (iii) emergency preparedness measures.

ACTIVITIES

IMPROVED HUMAN SECURITY: Since the 2014 conflict, UNMAS has provided over 3,300 training sessions to enable 108,500 UN staff, humanitarian workers, IDPs, engineers, construction workers and other at-risk populations - including 69,000 children - to identify and safely respond to existing ERW contamination. In line with a focus on emergency preparedness, UNMAS has now begun to work on 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. 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 direct 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: UNMAS maintains a bomb clearance team on standby in Gaza to remove and destroy existing contamination which poses a threat to Gaza communities. To date in 2017, the recorded number of accidents has surpassed the number of reported incidents during the whole of 2016, indicating the ongoing ERW threat to the local population. Since the 2014 conflict ended, 156 people have been killed or injured by ERW, 80% of whom were men and boys. UNMAS strategy in Gaza is to be ready for a rapid response during potential conflict, and to maintain emergency preparedness measures that are in concert with the contingency planning of UN partners.

FUNDING

Since 2014, UNMAS Palestine has been funded by Japan, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, the United States, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, South Korea, Poland and Estonia. UNMAS is seeking USD 1.4 million to cover its activities in Gaza through March 2019.

Updated: October 2017 

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IMPACT

  • 970 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) enabled the safe delivery by partner agencies of 87 reconstruction projects of roads, public facilities, public parks, water wells, desalination plants and other infrastructure in over 25 municipalities across Gaza.
  • 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 were neutralized and destroyed, thus preventing ERW accidents and the 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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