In Iraq, FSD locates and neutralises improvised mines in areas previously occupied and mined by the Islamic State. In addition, FSD reinforces the capacities of the national authorities.
Many villages are still littered with explosive devices laid by the jihadist group on roads, in fields, homes and schools. Inside buildings, these so-called “improvised mines” are sometimes hidden under furniture, in televisions or refrigerators, in doorways and windows.
In addition to these deadly devices, dangerous items of unexploded or abandoned explosive ordnance are scattered across the former battlefields.
To enable people to return to their homes, cultivate their lands and to send their children to school safely, it is essential to clear these contaminated villages and agricultural areas as soon as possible and to form Iraqi national organisations in mine action.
Now the village is cleared and people are no longer afraid to come back and rebuild their homes
Abd Al-Ghafoor Mohammed Attan
Muhktar (Mayor) of Karmardi village
FSD in Iraq
FSD began working in Iraq in 2016, when ISIS forces still occupied part of the country. Several demining teams were deployed, most of them in the Gouvernorate of Kirkuk, Erbil and Nineveh, thanks to the support of the US Department of State, the United Nations, the city of Geneva and other donors.
Demining operations in Iraq are delicate for deminers: explosive devices are present in considerable quantities, and their improvised nature can challenge the neutralisation process. Each device encountered is potentially different from the others and requires special attention. For example, some may include hidden or multiple activation switches.
The environment represent an additional challenge for deminers as well as for FSD’s risk education experts and survey teams who work in the north of the country.
The temperature of around 40 degrees Celsius for a good half of the year hardens and dries the soils posing a difficulty in the demining operations. Our teams often use mechanical means to excavate explosive devices.
The security also remains extremely fragile and infrastructures to host FSD teams close to minefields are rare because of the level of destruction caused by the combats.
CENTIMETRE after CENTIMETRE
In 2021, our deminers have cleared 8.5 km², an area equivalent to half of Geneva. This work requires constant concentration despite the sometimes extreme working conditions.
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Building local capacities
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Our humanitarian programmes focus on four main areas.
FSD locates and clears mines and unexploded ordnance, provides explosive ordnance risk education and assists survivors of accidental explosions.
Recovery & stability
FSD supports ongoing peace processes in various countries and provides socio-economic support to communities.
FSD remediates sites contaminated by toxic pollutants inherited from the past and act to promote biodiversity and resilience to face climate change.
Innovation & technology
FSD collaborates on research projects aiming to put new technologies, such as drones, at the service of mine action.
Where is FSD currently working in Ukraine? What does a landmine look like? Answers to your questions, once a month.
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