UNMAS commemorates International Mine Awareness Day 2016
UNMAS South Sudan and the National Mine Action Authority commemorated the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action on 4 April 2016 with a fun-filled morning of activities at the Nyakuron Cultural Centre, Juba. There were speeches from dignitaries, including the guest of honour the Minister for Cabinet Affairs, the Honourable Mr. Martin Elia Lomuro, as well as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Eugene Owusu. Guests and the general public were treated to entertaining role-play performances by three Juba primary schools, a performance by the Jay-Family of their song Lagam Batal (landmines are dangerous) and demonstrations of mine clearance and explosive detection dogs.
UNMAS hosted visit from the Japanese Ambassador
UNMAS hosted a visit from the Japanese Ambassador on 30 November. The Ambasador was received by PM Tim Lardner and Takuto Kubo, UNMAS headquarters Planning Officer. The event was well covered by local media. The Ambassador praised the work of UNMAS and vowed to advocate for continued funding.
UNMAS celebrated UN Day
UNMAS participated in UN day celebrations on 24 October in Rajaf East, a village 45 minutes from Juba, in Central Equatoria, South Sudan. There, under the 70th anniversary banner – Strong UN, Better World – the UN celebrated by providing services and displaying the work UN does in South Sudan. UNMAS contributed with a display of explosive detection dogs, a display of a mechanical demining machine and a raffle with prizes.
UNMAS is preparing a video
UNMAS South Sudan took footage throughout September of UNMAS work and interviewed Tim Lardner, head of UNMAS South Sudan as well as UNICEF on the work UNMAS does with its partners. Stay tuned for the final video!
UNMAS Programme Manager gives press conference
Tim Lardner, head of UNMAS South Sudan, held a press conference in Juba on 29 September, 2015 to brief media on the work of UNMAS in South Sudan. Speaking during the press conference, Lardner said, “We are providing protection of civilians by clearing those hazardous areas. By clearing the mine fields we are making way for safe grounds for agriculture, for kids to play in the fields and for people to go back to their normal lives.”
For more information on the conference, please visit : https://unmiss.unmissions.org/Default.aspx?ctl=Details&tabid=3465&mid=6047&ItemID=9883847
UNMAS trainings to prepare for the demining season
August and September are busy months for UNMAS. Trainings, workshops and accreditations - all to prepare for the full scale deployment to begin 1 November, as soon as the rainy season ends.
UNMAS clearance in Central Equatoria
UNMAS conducting a mine clearance on a site near Aru Junction in Central Equatoria for 8 days. Some local residents had discovered an anti-tank mine and two anti-personnel mines while clearing land used for making charcoal. After a community liaison team was alerted to their presence by the community, UNMAS started site clearance, conducted with a MineWolf mechanical demining machine and by manual clearance methods. Once the site is cleared, UNMAS will notify the government, landowners, and the surrounding community that it is safe to return to and begin working again.
UNMAS support to WFP in Central Equatoria
UNMAS has been supporting the WFP feeder road project. The project aims to reconstruct main roads in South Sudan to enable delivery of humanitarian assistance as well as easier flow of trade. On the road from Tijor to Buko in Central Equatoria, UNMAS has been ensuring that WFP’s road construction can take place safely by conducting road clearance using a demining machine for faster progress.
Mine Risk Education assessment visit to Karpeto, Central Equatoria
The Mine Risk Education (MRE) coordinator, Operations/Quality Assurance officer as well as an external MRE specialist conducted an assessment of an UNMAS team giving a MRE session at a school in Karpeto. The assessment was conducted in order for UNMAS to provide advice on how to improve the MRE deliveries more broadly in South Sudan.
International Landmine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action day
To commemorate International Landmine Awareness Day, a march on 2 April in Juba in remembrance of landmine victims and all those affected by remnants of war. A half-day event, organized by the National Mine Action Authority in partnership with UNMAS and mine action organisations, was then held at the local cultural centre. The event include speeches from the Vice President, a senior official from the Central Equatoria Government as well as the UNMAS Programme Manager. The event was focused on children’s competitions with small prizes for those participating. The event also consisted of live demonstrations of demining methods such as explosive detection dogs, mechanical clearance machines, and manual clearance methodology.
4 April International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action 2015 was also celebrated in Juba, South Sudan with a formal reception on 1 April attended by senior members of the diplomatic community, UNMISS senior military and civilian staff, senior members of the UN Country Team as well as South Sudanese ministers. The reception included speeches from SRSG Ellen Loej, UNMAS Programme Manager, UNICEF Country Representative as well as the Chairperson of the National Mine Action Authority. A mine awareness song was also interpreted by the Mines Advisory Group Mine Risk Education team.
DSRSG visit to Central Equatoria
Ahead of the 4 April International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action 2015, DSRSG Toby Lanzer visited a minefield in Ayii, Central Equatoria where he observed mechanical and manual demining. DRSG Lanzer also attended a Mine Risk Education session in a local school. The visit ended with a demolition of unexploded ordnance (UXO )gathered from the area in the past weeks.
Unity State work throughout February and March
Throughout February and March, UNMAS teams were busy in Unity State, working on Khaljak and Manga road, despite difficult road conditions. Many UXOs were found and destroyed during the month.
Clearance of Rubkona airstrip
Clearance of route leading into Rubkona airstrip extension near Bentiu, by UNMAS and contractor TDI. The extension came as an UNMISS directive, with the goal of allowing for greater capacity and heavier payloads in aircraft providing Mission and Humanitarian support and supplies. UNMAS was requested to ensure clearance of the area (verify it clear of UXO and other ERW and explosive materials) prior to the commencement of engineering work.
Explosive Detection Dogs in the Protection of Civilians site
On 9 December, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) supported the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) with the destruction of weapons collected by UNMISS in Juba since 15 December 2013, from internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have sought refuge in UNMISS IDP protection-of-civilians sites. The Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG), Ellen Margrethe Løj, Government officials, local and international media attended. The event, which took place inside the UNMISS base in Juba, was followed by a demolition in Kit (90 minutes south of Juba), 10 December. This was the first in a series of weapon and ammunition destruction exercises, with others taking place in Malakal, Bentiu, Wau and Bor throughout the month of December.
Ammunition destruction 10 December 2014
Following the 9 December weapons cutting, UNMAS destroyed the ammunition that was confiscated together with the weapons by UNMISS from the IDPs throughout 2014.
UNMAS Bus Campaign
The South Sudan progamme of UNMAS launched an outreach and advocacy campaign in central London today. Bringing to a broader public the story of Gatwech a seven-year-old who lost his grandmother, his leg and his childhood when the bus he was travelling in hit a landmine. The campaign will raise awareness about the on-going impact of landmines and the support given by the European Union - EU Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection department (ECHO) (http://ec.europa.eu/echo/) to clear the roads in South Sudan and allow civilians to travel safely.
ECHO has partnered with the United Nations in South Sudan to clear the roadways of hazardous items to ensure humanitarian access.
Conventional Munitions Disposal (CMD) training in Rejaf
Police officers of the SSNPS (South Sudan National Police Service) are trained in the removal of ERW (explosive remnants of war). The training lasted ten weeks, and was conducted by the Irish Defence Forces Training Team (consisting of one Engineer Officer, three EOD trained personnel drawn from the Corps of Engineers and the Ordnance Corps, and an advanced paramedic from the Medical Corps), in conjunction with UNMAS.
In this exercise, the SSNPS officers were divided into three groups and tasked with conducting a demonstration of unexploded ordnance (UXO) removal. Each group received a report of found UXO from a village, conducted a preliminary search, identified the UXO, determined the proper method of disposal, and detonated the UXO, following prescribed safety protocols and procedures. Photos and text by UNMISS Photographer JC McIlwaine
Trainings in Central Equatoria
Despite conflict continuing in some regions of South Sudan, UNMAS teams are doing important work in Central Equatoria. In the villages of Kit and Callifonia, explosive ordnance disposal teams are making site visits and finding and destroying explosives. Demining is continuing and deminers are being trained. In this photo, a manual demining team is being observed for accreditation. Shown here one member of a nine person team, which includes two medics, is waiting for the whistle to begin the next mine clearance shift. In the other photo the team medics practice an evacuation.