From the field - Weapon contamination in Libya

Weapon contamination in Libya - Sirte, April 2011 ©ICR

Weapon contamination in Libya - Sirte, April 2011 ©ICR

The ICRC in Libya started to address the humanitarian consequences of explosive remnants of war immediately after the figting ended in April 2011. 

In an effort to protect returning residents, our explosive ordnance disposal teams entered Sirte and Bani Walid at a time when unexploded ordnance caused on average one casualty a day.

They proceeded to train hundreds of Libyans in risk education, including members of the Libyan Red Crescent. These volunteers now work in local communities in the regions and cities most affected by the problem.

The total number of mines and explosive remnants of war in Libya is unknown but the weapons continue to kill and maim, primarily children and young men.

This recent IRRC article by John Borrie and Maya Brehm describes the effects of explosive violence and explores efforts to develop research and policy agendas the reduce the problem.

Jennifer Reeves heads our weapons contamination program in Libya. She explains the magnitude of the problem and a three-tier approach to the probelm that ranges from disposal and data collection to education.