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Syria

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ABOUT

In Syria, seven years of conflict characterized by the pervasive use of explosive weaponry in populated areas has compounded the complex humanitarian crisis. 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 preventative action: sponsoring CIS to identify, mark, and cordon off hazards; delivering risk education (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 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan for Syria, the Mine Action response aims to support and expand RE, CIS, and victim assistance.  

ACTIVITIES

FUNDING 

In 2017, UNMAS received USD 4.5 million out of an appeal for USD 10.5 million for coordination, risk education, impact survey, and victim assistance activities in Syria. UNMAS Syria Response is supported with funding from Japan, Denmark and Italy, the OCHA Humanitarian Pooled Fund for Syria, and Germany.

The mine action sector is a critical protection component within Whole of Syria and the Humanitarian Response plan. While UNMAS Syria Response has secured funding for its core coordination function for 2018, the Programme is seeking further funding for mine action activities for areas most in need, in line with the draft 2018 HRP.

Updated: January 2018

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IMPACT

  • In 2015, UNMAS Syria Response established the Mine Action Sub Cluster (MASC) under the Whole of Syria (WoS) framework and has since worked to ensure that mine action is fully integrated into the broader humanitarian response, is recognised by relevant stakeholders, and is an essential part of the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Syria. Mine action is an integral part of the humanitarian emergency response in Syria and essential to ensuring that the impact of explosive hazards on civilian lives is mitigated.
  • RE is the most widespread protection activity in Syria. Since January 2017, UNMAS Syria Response and its humanitarian and public service partners have reached 1,812,221 beneficiaries and trained 9,310 risk educators across Syria. UNMAS Syria Response is integrating RE material into other sectors by collaborating with multi-sectoral humanitarian organisations and implementing partners in the Education; Food, Security, and Livelihoods; Shelter and Non-Food Items, and Protection sectors throughout Syria. 
  • UNMAS Syria Response continues to implement and gather information from Contamination Impact Surveys (CIS) to better understand the impact of explosive hazards for future mine action activities, prioritize interventions on a needs basis, and help ensure the safety of humanitarian actors by identifying potentially hazardous and safe areas.
  • Information Management (IM) is central to UNMAS Syria Response’s core coordination function. Explosive hazard data is provided into the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) database, enabling needs-impact based prioritization; tailoring the response to the need and avoiding the duplication of efforts. With restricted access in Syria, IM is vitally important to increasing the effectiveness of the sector response and laying the foundations for future activities.