UN providing Afghan returnees with life-saving mine risk education

5 June 2007

Afghans who have returned from Iran over the past few weeks are receiving life-saving education to reduce the risk of injury from mines and unexploded ordnance, thanks to the efforts of the United Nations Mine Action Centre for Afghanistan (UNMACA).

“Mine risk education is crucial for these newly returned Afghans,” UN spokesman Adrian Edwards told reporters in Kabul today, noting that all but two of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces are still contaminated by mines and unexploded ordnance, and that an average of two Afghans fall victim to these devices every day.

Mine risk education teams from the Afghan Red Crescent Society and other groups are being deployed to run sessions for returnees at the Zaranj and Islam Qala border points and also in Farah province. Mine risk education posters will also be placed in prominent sites in these areas.

UNMACA will broadcast frequent messages in Farah through local radio networks to target returnees and raise their awareness of mines and unexploded ordnance.

The mine risk education programme is also working with the BBC and Afghan Education Projects to incorporate mine risk education into the programme New Home New Life, which is broadcast several times a week on the BBC World Service in both Pashto and Dari.

The Mine Action Programme for Afghanistan (MAPA), an umbrella organization comprised of partners that are coordinated by UNMACA, has cleared more than 1 billion square meters throughout Afghanistan since 1989 – destroying more than 323,000 anti-personnel mines, over 18,500 anti-tank mines and almost seven million pieces of unexploded ordnance.

 

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