Belgium continues critical support for UNMAS for explosive risk management in Iraq

BAGHDAD — The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) announced that it will receive effective and sustainable assistance for explosive risk management, along with technical and advisory support for National Mine Response Authorities in Iraq.

Belgium has consistently contributed $6 million annually for six consecutive years to support UNMAS initiatives. Despite progress in liberating areas from the terrorism of the Islamic State (ISIS), civilians in several Iraqi governorates remain at risk due to explosive contamination, including improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

This year, the Iraqi Ministry of Environment reported documenting 2,942 square kilometers of contaminated sites in Iraq, constituting 41% of the country’s territory. In response, Belgium aims to facilitate the safe return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) by removing dangerous munitions from ISIS-liberated areas, enabling ongoing reconstruction efforts.

Iraq currently holds the unfortunate distinction of being the most landmine-polluted country globally, primarily due to ISIS-laid mines in the regions it previously controlled in both Iraq and Syria.