UNMAS: Iraq is world’s most mine-contaminated country

NEW YORK — The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) stated on Monday that its data shows that Iraq is the most heavily mined country in the world, with a contaminated area of some 3 billion square meters.

“The area contaminated with mines and remnants of war in Iraq is 2,987,275,090 square meters, said Senior Director of UNMAS’s Iraq Program Per Lodhas, adding that 257,378,365 square meters of the contaminated area is in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq according to data provided by the government.

Iraq is one of the most polluted countries in the world in terms of mines and remnants of war, which include cluster munitions.

Among the remnants of war, said Lodhas, are innovative improvised explosive devices left behind by the Islamic State, which lost control of its territorial holdings in Iraq in late 2017.

UNMAS’s initial estimates of the cost of clearing Iraq of remnants of war were around $50 million. However, following the liberation of Mosul, an Islamic State stronghold, the estimate has skyrocketed. UNMAS now estimates that to clear Mosul alone will take $50 million.