- Two missions in Tigray (March and June 2021) to conduct emergency response to explosive ordnance reported at an internally displaced people (IDP) shelter and assess the impact of contamination on conflict-affected communities.
- Mine action consultation workshop (May 2021) gathering government officials, non-governmental organizations, and donors to advocate for the emergence of the mine action sector in Ethiopia, facilitate a dialogue between organizations, identify gaps and challenges, and consider possible solutions.
- Integration of mine action into the country’s humanitarian coordination architecture through the activation of the Mine Action Area of Responsibility (August 2021) and the inclusion of mine action in the 2022 Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) and Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP).
Ethiopia has experienced a series of internal and international armed conflicts throughout its history, leaving a legacy of landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) scattered throughout the country, particularly in the Somali, Tigray and Afar regions. According to the extension request that Ethiopia filed in 2019 under the Mine Ban Convention, the remaining unaddressed contamination totals 35 confirmed hazardous areas measuring 6,304,538 m2 and 226 suspected hazardous areas measuring 1,050,045,013 m2.
In March 2020, upon request from the Interim President of the Somali region of Ethiopia, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator (RC/HC) requested UNMAS to assess the level of explosive hazard contamination in the region and to provide technical assistance and safety advisory support to the national authority and the local population. The Federal Ministry of Peace of Ethiopia later requested to expand the UNMAS intervention to other regions.
The outbreak of conflict in November 2020 between the central government and the regional authorities of the Tigray region, which has spilled over into the neighbouring Afar and Amhara regions in 2021, has added new explosive ordnance contamination that poses an immediate threat to life and livelihoods. Over one hundred accidents have allegedly occurred in Northern Ethiopia since the beginning of the conflict, affecting children in particular, and it is believed that many other accidents go unreported.
Due to the outbreak of conflict in Northern Ethiopia, UNMAS’s initial technical advisory role to address the legacy explosive ordnance contamination quickly evolved to adopt a humanitarian mine action focus. By the end of 2021, UNMAS had mobilized resources to establish a country programme in Ethiopia and begin operations.
Explosive Ordnance Threat Assessment
UNMAS personnel are deploying to Tigray, Afar and Amhara regions to conduct explosive risk assessments on humanitarian partners’ areas of intervention and support the safe delivery of humanitarian aid to populations in need.
Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE)
UNMAS is providing EORE to humanitarian personnel and at-risk populations in Northern Ethiopia, including internally displaced people and local communities.
UNMAS leads the Mine Action Area of Responsibility, ensuring mine action partners coordinate needs assessments and operations, share analyses, and jointly advocate for increased access to resources.
Explosive Risk Reduction
UNMAS teams will deploy to priority areas identified through the threat assessment to conduct a more comprehensive study on the nature and location of ERW through non-technical survey, followed by explosive ordnance disposal in high-risk areas, to further enable the safe delivery of humanitarian aid and the safe return of IDPs and refugees.
Technical Assistance & Capacity Strengthening
UNMAS seeks to provide technical assistance to the Ethiopia Mine Action Office to develop its quality management, accreditation and data management capability, as well as its operational capacity for explosive hazards survey and clearance.
UNMAS has received generous contributions from the Government of Japan and OCHA, through the Ethiopia Humanitarian Fund, supporting the programme’s current activities in its mobilization phase to mid-2022. UNMAS Ethiopia currently seeks USD 2.5 million to scale up its humanitarian mine action intervention in Northern Ethiopia, and provide necessary technical assistance and capacity development for the Ethiopia Mine Action Office.
Data as of March 2022