This year’s International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action has been spearheaded by Somali women who joined together in an effort to raise awareness on mines and other Explosive Remnants of War (ERW).
After decades of civil war, Somalia has been riddled with mines and unexploded ordnance that threaten the lives of young children and limit access to basic services and economic opportunities for much of the population. As a result, explosive contamination represents a one of the most serious impediments to the stability, security and development of Somalia.
Amina Dualleh Ahmed from Mogadishu is highly active in raising awareness on the dangers imposed by contaminated areas. Just last year, Amina’s son was injured by an unexploded ordinance which resulted in him having one of his legs amputated.
“I urge Somali sisters to think about the dangers within our country that can make our children disabled. We have to make our children aware of areas that are dangerous and prohibited. Please teach your children and keep them away from these areas before something bad happens” she said.
The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has been able to provide prompt humanitarian response in clearance and disposal of dangerous stockpiles of explosives, ammunition dumps, and abandoned weapons. UNMAS’s presence in Somalia has facilitated the delivery of early recovery projects and increased the freedom of movement for the African Union mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Somali security forces.
Today, Somalia’s rural areas remain heavily contaminated with Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) and ERW left over from past fighting, posing a direct threat to the population. As the Government secures new territories of Somalia, support for clearance and awareness of explosives is crucial.