DEMINING RESTARTS IN IRAQ

October 2020

In August, Iraqi government coronavirus restrictions on NGOs began to lift and mine action organisations were allowed to start back to work with a 25% capacity. FSD mobilised two full teams in Kudila village, Makhmour District, Nineweh Province; this included refresher technical training, resurvey of sites and safety plans and medical training. It’s great for our teams to be back to work again making land safe and allowing displaced communities to return to their homes safely.

Iraq1

FSD is also proud to have signed a new contract this month with the UN Mine Action Service in Iraq, to deliver a two-year programme developing national mine action capacity. This will see FSD working with local NGO Al-Nabar in Iraq, providing them with training and mentoring in explosive hazard clearance, management training and implementing a strategy so the NGO can operate independently and allow Iraq to transition from international aid to national capacity. Whilst the project develops, this will also see physical operations to train Al-Nabar in real-time; this will help a local national capacity to build relations with the local community and also help to build the foundations of societal and economic regeneration in these communities who were so affected by the violence of the last four years.

Prior to the ISIL occupation of the village there were approximately 130 occupied homes and an estimated population of 800 people. ISIL entered Kudila village in 2014 and left after 2 years of occupation. 20 houses were destroyed but 110 are still habitable. The local population now stands at an estimated 300 people.  This land is vital to allow the inhabitants of Kudila to return to their homes and once again earn a living from growing crops and grazing animals in the surrounding farmlands. Unfortunately, ISIL had heavily mined the surrounding farm land with improvised explosive devices.  2 years ago, FSD began clearance activities in and around the village of Kudila. Due to the dense contamination levels of explosive ordnance, it was decided to deploy for the first time the FSD Mechanical Asset (Armoured Excavator) to assist in excavating the main charges of the improvised explosive devices. Last February, FSD was able to successfully excavate 765 improvised explosive devices in this hazard area.  Hopefully, FSD deminers who are currently on lockdown because of the Covid crisis, will soon be able to go get back at work, to finish clearance and to help people to return to their village and use the land to support their families after many years of fear and uncertainty.

The combined contributions from institutional government donors and our kind private donors help support all of these efforts, meaning that every franc and dollar goes directly towards making another square meter of land safe; removing more explosive hazards from the ground; regenerating agriculture and farming and the local economy and allowing families from Kudila to move back to their houses and rebuild their new lives.