CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Ibrahim Adnan Sherkhan

Iraq: Remnants of war devour Najaf lands

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Have you observed the difference between the right and left sides of this picture? On the left side, the land is green while the right is a wasteland. Though it is the same land with the same fertile soil , it lies barren. Farmers cannot use it because it is contaminated with remnants of war, such as unexploded ordnance, that endanger the lives of people.
Article 02 April 2019 Iraq

Najaf villages have always been famous for producing delicious rice but today farming this land is close to impossible.

After many decades of wars without rules, Iraq is plagued by remnants of war with the once fertile lands of its Najaf province faring badly.

What does it mean to live in an area plagued by remnants of war?

It means that on any given day that you go out with your family, these unexploded ordnancecould turn your picnic into a disaster that transforms your life forever.

 

To scrape out a living, the Hamids used to depend on a motorcycle with a container to transfer goods. After the accident, the Hamids lost their source of living.  


 

How do these unexploded ordnance deprive the children of Al Rouhba from an education?

Al Rouhba is a small village, 45 kms away from Najaf, which has been heavily affected by past wars fought in Iraq.

Al Rouhba is home to more than 800 people living in about 100 houses.

There is one primary school in Al Rouhba which caters to young children. .Unfortunately for the older children, the secondary school is further away.

The children who attend the primary school need to walk fo a longer distance now.

Due to the presence of unexploded ordnance, walking long distances endangers the lives of the students.

It is unfortunate how some children need to choose between safety and continuing their education.


 

There are vast areas in Najaf which cannot be trodden on without fear. Each step is a risk and a wrong step may cost you a limb or even your life.

Even with the removal of unexploded ordnance from certain parts of the land, danger may still continue to lurk in the soil whenever it is moved because of floods, strong winds or rains. 

 

In 2018…

Explosions due to remnants of war and improvised explosive devices caused 2,642 deaths and left 1,025 wounded people throughout Iraq.

 


Established in 1993, Najaf Physical Rehabilitation Centre is one of the pioneering centers in Iraq.

 

Since 1994, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been supporting this centre.

The ICRC provides the centre with assistive devices as well as material necessary for designing prostheses.

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