Jerusalem, 26 April 2022 – The Government of Japan has contributed US $1,134,203.00 to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), for the mine action project “Humanitarian Mine Action to Reduce Explosive Risk Faced by Civilians''. The funding from the Government of Japan will support the project to deliver explosive ordnance risk education (EORE) and conflict preparedness and protection (CPP) training, and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) response in the Gaza Strip. The project will minimize the threat of explosive ordnance for vulnerable populations in Gaza, the United Nations and its humanitarian partners. The project will also enable the United Nations and its partners to deliver humanitarian aid, and allow civilians’ safe movement and access to basic services.
During the escalation of hostilities in Gaza in May 2021, Israeli Forces launched an estimated 4,223 strikes via air, sea and land (UNDSS, 20 May 2021) and more than 4,300 rockets were fired from Gaza towards cities and towns across southern and central Israel (World Bank, June 2021). This was the most serious escalation in the conflict between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza since 2014. It exacerbated a precarious humanitarian situation impacted by various historic conflicts, the Israeli blockade of Gaza, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The use of explosive weapons in populated areas continues to have an impact on the population even after the ceasefire. An estimated 10% of items dropped do not explode on impact, and the conflict continues to leave a dangerous explosive legacy across the Gaza Strip. During the conflict, almost 2,000 Palestinians were injured, including over 600 children; 260 Palestinians, including 66 children and 41 women were killed (OCHA Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt): Response to the escalation in the oPt Situation Report No. 4: 11-17 June 2021). Since 21 May 2021, six accidents involving explosive remnants of war (ERW) have been reported causing the death of a boy and injuring 15 children in Gaza.
His Excellency Mr. Masayuki Magoshi, the Ambassador for the Palestinian Affairs/ Representative of Japan to Palestine stated, “We highly value UNMAS activities in Palestine. UNMAS has been playing a vital role for the development of Palestine through the provision of life-saving activities to protect civilians from explosive hazards. Moreover, UNMAS’ activities in Gaza are fundamental and essential to support Gaza’s reconstruction efforts that in principle can be implemented through this significant project.”
Ms. Bridget Forster, the Chief of the Mine Action Programme of UNMAS in Palestine said, “We are very grateful to the People and the Government of Japan for their support for our work in Palestine. The continued support allows us to ensure the safety of the Palestinian people in Gaza and improve the lives of those impacted by the presence of ERW within their community.”
Contributions from the Government of Japan over the years have enabled UNMAS to implement ERW risk mitigation projects, including: the clearance of ERW and deep buried bombs (DBB); risk assessments that support reconstruction efforts; EORE and the CPP programme.
For further information, please contact:
Ms. Bridget Forster, UN Mine Action Service, Gaza, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Tess Bresnan, UN Mine Action Service, Gaza, email@example.com
Mr. Daigo Takagi, UN Mine Action Service, Gaza, firstname.lastname@example.org