Mogadishu – Marking the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, the United Nations in Somalia highlighted this year’s theme of ‘Perseverance, Partnership, Progress’ in working to eliminate the threat of explosive hazards to Somalis.
“While the country is improving in preventing explosive hazards, we must continue to work together to rid Somalia of this scourge which not only kills and injures so many innocent civilians each year, but also puts a brake on the country’s development,” said the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, James Swan.
In 2019, there were 1,140 civilian casualties due to Improvised Explosive Devices (IED). In 2020, that number dropped to 454. Also, in 2019, there were 59 civilian casualties due to Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) and that number dropped to 53 in 2020.
While there has been a welcome decline in the number of casualties, they are still a major concern which requires our dedicated attention, according to the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Somalia.
“The major impact of explosive hazards is on civilians and, particularly, on children. Together, we must press on to reinforce the development of national mine-action capacities and continue to support Somalia, ensuring protection of civilians as well as social and economic development,” said UNMAS’ Programme Director in Somalia, Qurat-ul-Ain Sadozai.
UNMAS is working with the Federal Government of Somalia and Federal Member States, along with national and international partners, to support the Somalia Transition Plan. This includes clearing explosive hazards, delivering explosive ordnance risk education, raising awareness at the community level, enhancing national mine action capabilities, and supporting government efforts to serve survivors of landmines and explosive remnants of war and persons with disabilities.
UNMAS’ efforts advance the UN’s collective commitment to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Adopted by all UN member States in 2015, the Goals are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone everywhere.