With war comes mines and Ukraine is no exception. However, the question is how long would it take remove the mines so that people can lead a normal life. No one has an answer and can give a specific time by which the country is free of the mines. The Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining said that it would take years to demine the country, whose lands are filled up with anti-personnel and anti-vehicle mines, as well as other unexploded or abandoned ammunition.
The complete demining process taking years would hinder reconstruction efforts and make it unsafe for people to return to their previous daily lives.
As war goes on in the country, the officials said that a full-scale humanitarian demining effort is impossible, as it would be hard to locate, identify and remove explosive ordnance. Mine Action Information Management (IM) cell is engaged in demining in coordinated with GICHD,
MAPPING LANDMINE RISKS
As per records, the Ukrainian authorities reported that they removed 80,000 mines and explosive devices until now. The GICHD-developed IMSMA has transitioned to an emergency coordination platform, allowing the IM cell to aggregate, interpret, and share the flood of data across partners and sources, in order to map areas where threats exist and define possible actions.
The officials said that data-driven mapping of areas where landmines and other explosive ordnance are reported builds the foundation for effective and efficient humanitarian demining operations. Identifying the areas and extent of contamination helps speed the recovery process so that people can return to their homes and use their land safely.
HELPING CIVILIANS IN MINE-CONTAMINATED AREAS
With mines spread all across the country, the officials said that the need to understand how to recognise explosive ordnance in their communities, what to do if EO is found, and how to reduce their risks.
“10 to 30% of the explosive weapons used, dropped, fired or launched do not explode as intended and many other explosive ordnance are abandoned in various locations,” estimates the Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE) Advisory Group, an international group of experts from the GICHD, UN agencies, international organisations and NGOs, in the recently published Questions and Answers on EORE for Ukraine. This means that a large portion of mines and other EO used during the conflict will remain a threat to civilians after the fighting is over, especially for children.
IDENTIFYING EXPLOSIVE ORDNANCE ITEMS
In addition to the sheer quantity of explosive ordnance in Ukraine, the variety of the types of EO adds an additional challenge for mine action operators on the ground.
Drafted over three weeks to provide urgent guidance to operators conducting mine action activities in Ukraine, the first edition of GICHD’s Explosive Ordnance Guide for Ukraine identifies over 100 separate items of explosive ordnance, such as anti-personnel and anti-vehicle mines, explosive sub munitions, and grenades, found in Ukraine since the conflict began. The GICHD will continue to update the guide as more explosive ordnance is identified, aiming to assist mine action operators to manage the risks they face in their work.
PLANNING FOR LONG-TERM RESPONSE
As Ukraine approaches three months since the escalation of the armed conflict in February, increased technical and financial support is needed to sustain current efforts and prepare for longer-term response.
“Humanitarian demining in Ukraine needs to focus on national capacity and nationally-led programmes,” explained GICHD Director, Ambassador Stefano Toscano.