UN have called for concerted efforts to help the government eliminate threats posed by the increasing use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the Horn of the African nation.
On the occasion of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, James Swan, UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia called on stakeholders and the mine action community to support the government’s implementation of a national plan to eradicate explosive hazards.
The envoy highlighted the need for collaboration to eliminate the threat of mines to Somalis and Somalia’s development.
“Explosive hazards and improvised explosive devices in Somalia not only endanger the lives of civilians but also undermine state-building and economic development – areas in which Somalia has made commendable progress,” he said. “In the midst of a global health emergency, we are reminded of the importance of working together to eradicate dangers and create safe environments in which communities can thrive. Just as in our efforts to combat the COVID-19 virus.
He said UN remains committed to supporting Somalia in its efforts to rid the country of the threat of explosive hazards. We must unite to save lives and ‘give life back’ to local communities.”
The theme of this year’s observance is ‘Together for Mine Action: Give Life Back.’ The Day aims to promote the need for continued efforts to develop national mine-action capacities in countries where mines and explosive remnants of war constitute a serious threat to the safety, health and lives of the civilian population, or an impediment to social and economic development.
Since 2018, there have been 3,279 casualties due to explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive device incidents in Somalia. The Federal Government is developing a national plan of action for landmine survivors and persons with disabilities to address these threats.
The UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) is working with national and international partners to clear explosive hazards, deliver explosive ordnance risk education, raise awareness at the community level, enhance national mine action capabilities, and support government efforts to serve survivors of landmine and explosive remnants of war and persons with disabilities.