Press Release: International Day for Mine Awareness
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) today observed the International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. To commemorate this Day the United Nations Mine Action Support Team (UNMAST) hosted a mock minefield and free demining demonstrations for students in three locations in southern Lebanon.
The events were organized at the Mission Headquarters in Naqoura, Shamaa, and Marjayoun. Displays and demonstrations by the United Nations Mine Action Support Team (UNMAST) and UNIFIL Demining personnel from Belgian, Cambodian, Chinese, French, Italian, Spanish and Sri Lankan contingents were exhibited. In each location, about 70 children from the neighboring schools were invited to participate.
A delegation from the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), South Litani Sector and the Regional Mine Action Center, as the supervision authority for humanitarian demining activities and members of the international community as well as UNIFIL personnel were in attendance.
Speaking during the event, UNMAST Programme Manager Leon Louw said: “This day is intended to make local communities aware of the remaining threats from Explosives Remnants of War (ERW) in south of Lebanon and we would also like to draw attention to the victims and survivors of ERW related incidents and accidents. By involving students, attention can be drawn at grassroot level to remaining threats, as well as promoting UNIFIL's efforts to clear areas close to the Blue Line to ease the marking process. Today we are also celebrating the survivors, overcoming their disabilities caused by ERW, and actively joining and contributing in their societies.”
“By decentralizing the event we want to spread the message throughout UNIFIL’s area of operation and gather a higher number of participants from several communities.” he added.
As of 1 March 2014, UNIFIL Troop Contributing Countries (TCC’s) completed over 95,000 sq metres of mine clearance and over 4.6 million sq metres of Battle Area Clearance. During the process, 2,787 Anti-Personnel Mines, 163 Anti-Tank mines, 3,419 Unexploded Ordnance, 92 Unexploded Bombs and 28,719 Cluster Bomblets have been destroyed. UNIFIL TCC’s clearance has also facilitated the construction of 300 marker barrels along the Blue Line, supporting security in the region in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1701.
On 8 December 2005, the General Assembly declared that 4 April of each year shall be observed as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.