13 Dec 2015

MAG - Publication of the Rapid Assessment of Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) Contamination in Northern Ninewah Governorate

Rapid Assessment of Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) Contamination in Northern Ninewah Governorate

While displaced persons fleeing violence may have to enter/transit areas of contamination pre-dating the current conflict, a safe return to places or origin formerly under IS control is also threatened by an increase in the type and scope of ERW contamination. In particular, IS‟s widespread use of victim operated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) is posing a threat to civilians and hampering a safe returns process to areas secured by the security forces.

Thousands of people spontaneously returning to their home locations face the threat of injury and death due to contamination and damage resulting from the conflict. Additionally, with no systematically collected information on the extent of the problem, the ability of humanitarian mine action (HMA) actors and the wider humanitarian community to respond efficiently and safely to IDPs‟ needs is compromised. The whole of Ninewah governorate was estimated to have a population of 3.5 million people before the arrival of IS. During this rapid ERW contamination assessment, conducted in 164 locations in the Governorate of Ninewah, district of Tal-Afar, sub-districts of Zummar, Rabeea and Sinuni, MAG has recorded approximately 50,000 people living in assessed areas.

This assessment is part of the greater planning for recovery and stabilisation in Ninewah governorate. In early 2015 UNDP carried out a Recovery and Stabilisation Needs Assessment in Ninewah Governorate and in the findings of the report contamination assessments were identified as being vital in the area. In addition, to working in close collaboration with UNDP, MAG also worked with the Deputy Governor of Ninewah and the Iraqi Kurdish Mine Action Agency (IKMAA) to ensure that they were involved in the planning of the project and that any information required by them would be collected.

This project aimed to increase the knowledge of risks from ERW, making available contamination/damage data to support prioritization of recovery efforts and, to facilitate the planning of national and local authorities and the greater humanitarian response. In addition, the data will assist in determining the type and scope of HMA activities to support the protection of returnees to areas formerly under IS control.

The findings of the assessment have indicated that 142 (87%) of the villages identified were accessible. In the remaining 22 villages, access was not possible either because of on-going fighting in the area or due to the presence of Peshmerga forces who blocked access. In 67 of the accessible villages (47%), the local populations reported seeing evidence of contamination in their villages. Visible damage and destruction of buildings was reported in 71 (50%) of the villages and in 40 villages (28%) there was both reported contamination and destruction of buildings. The following report provides a further breakdown of data indicating population movement, contamination/damage levels and infrastructure damage.

The full assessment report can be found attached below.

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