SOMALIA: The Devastating Effects of Unexploded Ordnance
Abdi-Najib Hirad Said was left with one leg and a hand missing, and blind in one eye, after playing with an item of unexploded ordnance. His playmate was killed instantly.
The pair came across the UXO in their village, Yahlo, in the Bosaso district of Bari. Not knowing what is was, they began playing with it.
“We found it under the bridge, then we took it and we threw it," Abdi-Najib explained to MAG Somalia Community Liaison staff, during a visit to the community in November.
"Then I remember the flame and the explosion. I was blown into the air, nothing else I remember.”
Preventing UXO accidents
This is the type of accident a unique Mine Risk Education (MRE) program seeks to prevent in the future.
In communities such as Yahlo, MAG's Community Liaison teams carry out two key tasks.Firstly, they conduct MRE with separate groups of men, women and children, focusing on two key messages:
Secondly, they set up 'Community Antennas', comprising a motivated and respected senior male and female member of the community, who are trained to assist in spreading safety messages.
These individuals also act as focal points in the community, so if a resident sees a suspicious item he or she can report it to the Antenna who in turn will contact the Puntland Mine Action Centre (PMAC), the coordinating body for clearance tasks.
This data gathering compliments UN efforts to bolster the Information Management System for Mine Action, so PMAC and the UN can better chart and prioritize explosive remnants of conflict and their unfortunate casualties.
MAG thanks the following current donors to its Somalia operations: Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, U.S. Department of State; African Conflict Prevention Pool.
1 February 2011