The UN on Sunday called for joint efforts to eradicate threats posed by the increasing use of explosive hazards in Somalia. Qurat-ul-Ain Sadozai, UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) programme director in Somalia, said the major impact of explosive hazards was on civilians and particularly 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,” Sadozai said in a joint statement issued in Mogadishu to mark the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
According to statistics from the UNMAS programme in Somalia, there were 1,140 civilian casualties due to improvised explosive devices (IED) in 2019.
The number dropped to 454 in 2020. 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 that requires dedicated attention, according to the UNMAS in Somalia.
Sadozai said the UNMAS is working with the Somali government and the Federal Member States, along with 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 said.
James Swan, UN secretary-general’s special representative for 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,” Swan said.