UN News Service (New York)
Seeking to curb the scourge of landmines and other explosive remnants of war that kill or injure between 15,000 and 20,000 people annually worldwide, the United Nations is appealing for more than $85 million to tackle the crisis in three of the most affected countries - Sudan, Somalia and Uganda.
"We cannot over-emphasize the primacy of Mine Action to humanitarian, development and reconstruction activities," UN Somalia Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and Director Designate of the UN Mine Action Service Maxwell Gaylard said at the regional launch of Mine Action Projects 2006 in Nairobi, Kenya, yesterday.
The projects cover all five aspects of mine action in the three strife-torn countries: clearing, marking or fencing off mined areas; assisting victims and their families; providing mine risk education; destroying countries' stockpiles of landmines; and urging universal participation in treaties related to landmines and other explosive remnants of war.
Beyond their toll of dead and mutilated, mines hinder access to critical services by inhibiting the use of roads, airstrips and other infrastructure, and prevent the safe movement of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), delivery of humanitarian assistance and the deployment of peacekeepers.
The 2006 programme devotes the lion's share of the amount sought, $76.5 million, to Sudan, focusing on high impact areas totalling 596 minefields and on 11,000 kilometres of prioritized roads including clearance of 1,400 kilometres to support return of displaced people in southern and central areas.
It also budgets $5.5 million for Somalia, where there are well over 800 dangerous areas, and $3.4 million for Uganda, where heavily affected areas include the border regions with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan.