JERUSALEM, March 16, 2015 (WAFA) – The Government of Japan has contributed $3 million to the Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action, enabling the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) to mitigate explosive hazards in Gaza.
Explosive remnants of war (ERW) present a significant risk for civilians and hamper humanitarian and reconstruction operations in Gaza, according to UNMAS.
The latest escalation of hostilities in Gaza caused unprecedented damage and destruction, leaving an estimated 7,000 ERWs and other explosive hazards buried amidstthe rubble, a significantly higher level of contamination than in previous conflicts.
ERW accidents have increased significantly since August 2014; in the last five months, 11 persons have been killed and 40 injured.
To date, UNMAS has supported the United Nations Development programme (UNDP) Rubble Removal project in Shejaayea, one of the most affected areas of Gaza, clearing 166 locations.
Japan recently decided to disburse $100 million mainly through international organizations, including UNMAS.
UNMAS has served Palestine since 2009 and sent an emergency team to Gaza on 27 July 2014 at the request of the United Nations Secretary-General. Since, UNMAS conducted 218 emergency deployments, surveying and clearing key infrastructure that was damaged or destroyed, including the Rafah Crossing and Gaza power plant.
UNMAS cleared all schools affected by the hostilities at the request of UNRWA and UNICEF, allowing more than 250,000 children to return to studies following the war.