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Reducing the humanitarian impact of weapon contamination – facts and figures 2011

27-03-2012 Facts and Figures

In 2011, the ICRC

  • took preventive mine action in 27 countries or contexts, providing expert guidance, training and technical know-how for government mine-action bodies, supporting National Societies in the running of activities, working to mobilize and persuade government and other actors to provide effective mine-action inputs, or undertaking clearance activities. The network of five regional weapon contamination advisers, the country-based weapon contamination delegates and the locally recruited employees together played a vital role in ensuring the necessary support for ICRC delegations and National Societies.
  • continued to include weapon contamination issues and requirements in its cooperation with National Societies in the fields of economic security, health, protection, staff safety and water and habitat.

Below are several examples of this ICRC action to reduce the impact of weapon contamination around the world.

In Azerbaijan (Nagorno Karabakh), the ICRC started to collect data on the needs of 400 mine/ERW victims.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the number of people killed or injured by mines/ERW rose by over 70% in 2011. Working in partnership with the ICRC and with accreditation from the national Mine Action Centre, the National Society contributed to public communication on mine action and was included in the national mine action strategy. Two children’s playgrounds were built in severely affected communities.

In Cambodia, the National Society’s mine-risk education and risk-reduction activities continued with support from the Australian Red Cross, the Norwegian Red Cross and the ICRC. Individuals forced to engage in risky behaviour and mine victims (more than 1,500 people and their families) have been receiving micro-loans since 2006 in an effort to reduce forced risk-taking and improve the livelihoods and social integration of victims.

In Colombia, the ICRC addressed the long-term consequences of weapon contamination through a combination of various information management measures including victim data collection, the recording of suspected hazardous areas, preventive activities carried out through the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA), risk education (safe behaviour), transversal risk reduction (providing of alternative solutions), victim assistance (including physical rehabilitation) and victims’ rights activities.

In Côte d’Ivoire, the ICRC was the first organization to conduct a humanitarian mission focusing on the impact of weapon contamination following the hostilities in Abidjan. Risk-education training was conducted for National Society personnel in close coordination with the United Nations, and a mine programme was drawn up.

In Eritrea, the ICRC provided technical and financial support for the National Society, helping it to conduct data-gathering and risk-education activities targeting people living in or near the former frontlines with Ethiopia.

As the only agency undertaking clearance activities in Missan province in southern Iraq, the ICRC destroyed some 1,600 items of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in 26 communities.

In Jordan, the ICRC provided technical support for the National Committee for Demining and Rehabilitation (NCDR) in the fields of mine-risk education and victim assistance.

In Libya, the ICRC was the first agency to deploy survey and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams in Libya, where they destroyed or made safe over 3,500 items of ordnance in 2011 and have destroyed a further 3000 so far in 2012.

In Nepal, the Nepal Red Cross Society, supported by the ICRC, continued to be the main provider of risk education in the country, working closely with the Mine Action Section of the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, which is in charge of coordinating mine activities.

In Senegal, the ICRC is in discussion with non-state actors controlling areas out of reach of the national authorities and has agreed to assess the areas in 10 villages whose populations are now internally displaced or have fled as refugees, in order to better support the safe return of these people.

In Syria, the National Society continued its work with technical and financial support from the ICRC to provide basic safety information through volunteers working in the first-aid and emergency response unit for people living in affected communities in the Kuneitra region.

With ICRC support, the National Society in Tajikistan repaired eight Safe Play Areas for children from the border regions. NS volunteers conducted mine-risk education and first-aid sessions for around 30 000 affected people. Various operations concerning water supply and economic security were also carried out to assist communities affected by the conflict.

In the region of the Western Sahara under Moroccan control, preventive mine-action activities were conducted by Moroccan Red Crescent volunteers with ICRC technical support, and in areas of the Western Sahara controlled by the Polisario Front similar activities were carried out in refugee camps and affected communities through the NGO “Saharawi Campaign to Ban Landmines”.

In Viet Nam, the National Society continued with incidence surveillance and the promotion of safe behaviour activities In Quang Tri province. A total of 35 victims and their families received various forms of assistance including livestock donations and vocational training.

In Zimbabwe, the ICRC conducted an assessment on the humanitarian impact of contamination by landmines in the northern part of the country and is now providing refresher training and equipment for the Zimbabwe authorities.


Brazzaville, the Talangai district. An ICRC explosive ordnance disposal specialist participating in a clearing operation. 

Brazzaville, the Talangai district. An ICRC explosive ordnance disposal specialist participating in a clearing operation.

Sirte, Libya. The ICRC weapon contamination team and Libya Red Crescent staff count unexploded ordnance they have collected. 

Sirte, Libya. The ICRC weapon contamination team and Libya Red Crescent staff count unexploded ordnance they have collected.
© ICRC / X. Hu / v-p-ly-e-00319

Schoolchildren in a town in Cauca department take part in the ICRC workshop on how to keep safe. 

Colombia. Schoolchildren in a town in Cauca department take part in the ICRC workshop on how to keep safe.
© ICRC / E. Tovar