Mr Mitja Hegler
T: +386 1 479 65 91
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 2015, LMAC estimated that 61,3 million square meters of contaminated/suspected land remain to be cleared in Lebanon. Out of these, 29,1 million square meters is estimated to be contaminated by landmines (including 6,6 million square meters on Blue Line), 16,3 million square meters by cluster bombs and remaining 15,9 million square meters of Dangerous Area.
It is known that landmines only have killed 898 and injured additional 2,945 people in Lebanon since the 1975. Moreover, between August 2006 and June 2015, cluster munitions alone have killed 56 and injured 404 people. Until today, due to a lack of funding, less than 75 survivors were fitted with prosthetic limbs and/or were trained on income generation projects. Hence, more attention should be given to the victim assistance programs Lebanon.
The presence or assumed presence of landmines, cluster munitions and other ERW in Lebanon has had a negative socioeconomic impact which goes beyond the obvious danger to people’s lives and livelihoods. The blocking of resources in suspected hazardous areas prevents the development of the affected communities. Removing the threat landmines/ERW pose to the population does not only improve the lives of the directly affected beneficiaries, but also aids socio-economic development throughout Lebanon.
Pressure on land in South Lebanon is high and rising, especially with continued influx of refugees from Syria to Lebanon thus clearance has an even greater socio-economic and life saving value for the fast rising population of Lebanon.
During the 2006 hostilities, the south of Lebanon was contaminated also with more than 4 million cluster munitions. The estimated one million cluster munitions that did not detonate cause an ongoing indiscriminate threat to civilians; deny access to agricultural land, the primary source of economy in the south. The confirmed Cluster Bomb Unit (CBU) strike locations totaled 1,293 locations covering an area of app. 55.3 sq. kilometers but through clearance, this area has been reduced to 18.7 sq. kilometers (459 CBU locations) by the end of 2011.
What we do
ITF has been involved in supporting capacty building, mine/cluster munitions and other ERW clearance in Lebanon since late 2009 as well as victim assistance programs:
- Over 1,298,715 square meters of land cleared in South Lebanon with over 1,037 ERW found and destroyed by end of August 2015.
- Victim’s Assistance (VA) – direct support to 17 mine/ERW victims and supporting coordination between members of National VA Committee
- In 2015 ITF has deployed 5 mine detection dogs to LMAC
- In 2015 ITF has been supporting psychosocial and educational program for Syrian refugees – children and adolescents in Shatila refugee camp, Southern Beirut. The project has been funded by the Slovenian MFA. It has addressed the psychosocial and educational needs of up to 200 Syrian refugee children.
ITF will continue to fundraise for and facilitate/implement mine/cluster/ERW clearance, risk education and victims` assistance in Lebanon in accordance with Lebanon Mine Action Strategy and tasking by the LMAC as national authority for mine action, with which ITF has established an excellent relationship and cooperation.
In addition ITF is raising funds also to address high refugee influx through relief and recovery intervention affecting lives of host communities and refuges from Syria.