Clearance of Cluster Munitions / ERW in Southern Lebanon
Lebanon has been seriously scarred by decades of armed conflict. Most of the fighting has left behind a legacy of landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) scattered in old battlefields throughout the entire country. In mid 2014, Lebanon Mine Action Centre estimated that 62,6 million sq. meters of contaminated/suspected land remain to be cleared in Lebanon. Out of these, 30 million sq. meters is estimated to be contaminated by landmines; 18,1 million sq. meters by cluster bombs (CBU) and the remaining 14,5 million sq. meters of Dangerous Area. Removing the threat cluster munitions/ERW pose to the population does not only improve the lives of the directly affected beneficiaries, but also aids socio-economic development.
In July 2014 ITF initiated a continuation of cluster munitions/ERW clearance activities in contaminated areas throughout southern Lebanon with support provided by OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) and matching secured by the United States Department of State Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PMWRA). Battle area clearance activities were conducted in partnership with DanChurchAid that concluded its activities by end of February 2015 and Norwegian People’s Aid which continued with activities until end of August 2015.
In total, 231.331 sq. meters of contaminated land in southern Lebanon was cleared with 203 cluster munitions and 35 other unexploded ordnances found and destroyed. A total of 558 persons benefitted directly from the clearance operations, mainly by gaining access to previously blocked resources such as agricultural land. The tasked areas are of huge importance for local population as they help create favorable conditions for socio-economic development once cleared and handed over to final beneficiaries for agricultural use, housing or grazing.