Ms Katarina Cvikl Balić
T: +386 1 4796 593
Iraq is one of the most heavily ERW-contaminated countries in the world following decades of wars, including the 1980–1988 war with Iran, the 1991 Gulf War, the 2003 invasion by the US led coalition, and the subsequent internal conflict that is still ongoing.
The presence of mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) remains a major threat to the security of the civilian population; it also hinders socio-economic development, affects infrastructure projects and prevents steady and continuous overall reconstruction. The latest estimates on ERW contamination provided by the Directorate of Mine Action (DMA) remain devastating; a total of confirmed and suspected mine contamination in Iraq has been estimated at 1,604 sq. kilometers, three-quarters of which is attributed to the Basrah governorate, and around 16% (258 sq. kilometers) to the three northern governorates of Dohuk, Erbil, and Sulimaniya under the Kurdish Regional Government. Iraqi Kurdistan Mine Action Authority (IKMAA) estimates the total contamination in the Iraqi Kurdistan at 297 sq. kilometers. Additionally, 168 cluster munition-contaminated areas in nine central and southern governorates, including Baghdad, are estimated to cover a total in 236 sq. kilometers. The DMA also identified more than 1,000 sq. kilometers of battle area that may also include some cluster munition contamination. The mine/ERW contamination has been further aggravated since 2014 due to the conflict with the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
By the end of 2013, 31,618 mine/ERW casualties have been confirmed, including 13,423 casualties registered in Kurdistan (10,721 killed, 2,702 injured). Given the level of contamination, it is estimated that there have been between 5,500 and 8,000 casualties from cluster munitions since 1991, including casualties that occurred during cluster munition strikes, and that around 25% of these casualties were children.
The total number of mine/ERW survivors in Iraq is estimated to be between 48,000 and 68,000. As of March 2013, 15,173 survivors have been identified; 12,471 in central and southern Iraq and 2,702 in Kurdistan.
What we do
In 2009, ITF enabled UNMAS mission to conduct evaluation of mine action programme in Iraq the results of which will serve to improve further mine/UXO clearance activities in Iraq.
Support of UNMAS activities and cooperation was institutionalized with a signed memorandum on Cooperation in September 2007.