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Launch of weapons clearance operations in Iraq

Several weeks ago, Handicap International launched weapons clearance operations in the governorates of Kirkuk and Diyala in Iraq. In one month, the organisation has already destroyed more than 1,000 explosive remnants of war in sectors seriously affected by fighting. 

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Explosive remnants of war found in the governorate of Kirkuk, ready to be destroyed. | © E. Fourt / Handicap International

Since the launch of its relief effort in assistance to displaced people from Mosul and its surroundings, Handicap International has already provided assistance to hundreds of people. “Our teams go from tent to tent in the camps to make sure no one is left behind,” explains Maud Bellon, Field Coordinator for the organisation’s emergency response. For several weeks, she has been supervising the work of dozens of physiotherapists, social workers, psychosocial workers and officers educating people on the risk from mines and explosive remnants of war, who reach out to displaced people.

“We are doing our best to help as many people as possible, but the number of IDPs continues to grow every day. It’s getting colder and living conditions are increasingly harsh for people in the camps. About 80% of these displaced people live in camps,” explains Maud. 

“In addition to our physiotherapy and psychosocial support activities, last week we launched risk education sessions on mines and explosive remnants of war for displaced people. Since 17 October, more than 1,000 people have been injured by firearms or explosive weapons, including mines, while fleeing the fighting[1]. It is vital that the displaced population knows how to avoid these risks. When they return home, which is already the case in some areas, they arrive in places that are heavily contaminated, so they need to know what the dangers are,” adds Handicap International’s coordinator.

 

[1] OCHA, 9 December 2016.

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