Explosive hazards: More than 10,000 casualties recorded in Nigeria within six years – UN
United Nations resident and humanitarian coordinator, Matthias Schmale has stated that the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) recorded 1,532 incidents of explosive hazards in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states in six years.
This was stated on Monday by Matthias Schmale at an event held in Abuja to mark the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
The Mines Day celebrated annually on April 4 aims to seek assistance for mine action work, raise awareness about landmines and the progress of their eradication globally.
Schmale said the explosives currently littered in the north-east represent an “immediate, grave and additional threat” to residents of the affected areas.
“These devices are also an obstacle to early recovery and development efforts. For the BAY states, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) collated 1,532 incidents involving explosive hazards from January 2016 to January 2022 involving more than 10,000 casualties, out of which 1,356 civilians were injured and 789 killed,” he said.
“Mines and other explosives are an everyday threat to civilian populations. We particularly condemn the use of improvised mines which kill and maim without discrimination. It is important to remind that such devices go against international humanitarian law.
“It is equally important to recognise that the explosives littering north-east Nigeria will survive the crisis and continue to affect the lives of thousands of peoples and plans to recover from the crisis.”
He said it is necessary that populations are protected against such threats, adding that long-term response is needed to complement immediate assistance.
He added that through explosive ordnance risk education (EORE), mine action organisations have provided critical life-saving information to mitigate explosive hazards for people in conflict-affected communities, displaced persons and refugees.
He, however, said efforts must be sustained as the 2022 humanitarian needs overview process has identified “1.2 million people immediately at risk and in need for life-saving assistance in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe”.
Giwes Delecourt, programme manager, UNMAS, said UNMAS is trying to ensure risk education for residents to help them identify the threats and protect themselves by not touching and walking on specific roads.
Sadeeq Shehu, special assistant to the president on disaster management, said the federal government is carrying out a technical survey and working with security agencies to map out mine risk areas.
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