Destroyed 1,048,000 items of explosive devices and more than 5.2 million bullets, including 39,726 mines, 74,106 cluster munitions, and 934,612 other items of unexploded ordnance (UXO), to make safe: 1,561 water points, 291 schools, and 269 health clinics.
Cleared 4,232 km of road, enabling UN and humanitarian partners to deliver life-saving aid, as well as supporting functioning markets and sustainable development.
Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE) ensured that 5,307,841 people, including internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees, and host communities, can recognize and report explosive hazards.
Since its inception in 2004, UNMAS has cleared 45.82 km2 of minefields and 72.31 km2 of cluster strikes and battlefields as well as surveying and confirming safe more than 1,165 km2 of suspected areas.
The total contamination area is now estimated to be around 19.5 km2 (approximately 2,731 football pitches) with 355 remaining tasks comprised of 186 minefields, 134 cluster munition strikes, and 35 confrontation areas. UNMAS believes that all these tasks can be cleared within five years – given safe access and appropriate funding. However, the requirement for a spot UXO clearance capacity will remain for decades. UNMAS is preparing for a transfer of full responsibility for the long-term management of mine action to the National Mine Action Authority.
The Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) is holding, however, the majority of the remaining contamination is centred in the southern part of the Greater Equatoria region, which is currently the area of greatest insecurity. Much of the contamination straddles the primary return routes for the 880,000 refugees in Uganda and the 88,000 refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Safe land is needed for resettlement and agriculture, and a prerequisite for safe return.
As of 1 August 2020, UNMAS coordinates 12 mine action teams with additional EORE teams. Each year the teams clear approximately 1.8 km2 of mine fields and 4.2 km2 of cluster strikes and battlefields and deliver safety messaging to more than 300,000 people.
UNMAS is an integral component of UNMISS, mandated under Security Council Resolution 2514 (2020), and supports the four core objectives:
- Protection of civilians;
- Creating the conditions conductive to the delivery of humanitarian assistance;
- Supporting the implementation of the Revitalised Agreement and the peace process; and
- Monitoring and investigating human rights.
Survey and Clearance:
Birisi is a small village in the southern part of South Sudan located along the main supply route to Uganda. This area has suffered from heavy conflict in the past, including contamination from explosive hazards. Since UNMAS conducted clearance around the area from October 2019 to April 2020, 98 anti-personnel mines and 15 items of unexploded ordnance were found and safely destroyed. The operation enabled 210,000 m2 of fertile land to be released to the communities to rebuild homes and livelihoods and to safely use their land for farming.
In March 2020, UNMAS commenced road clearance of the Pamir-Wunkur-Tonga route in Unity. This road connects the main supply route from Juba, Central Equatoria to Malakal, Upper Nile. Since its closure in 2013 during the conflict, cargo transportation between the two was only possible either by water or air. The clearance of this key supply route will facilitate safe road transportation of livelihood commodities and lifesaving supplies as well as the delivery of humanitarian assistance.
Protection of Civilians:
While digging fence posts, an internally displaced person (IDP) living in a camp in Kurkal, Unity discovered six items of unexploded ordnance in January 2020. UNMAS responded by conducting survey and clearance in the area from July 2019 to April 2020; a total of 529 items of explosive ordnance including mortars, fuzes, grenades, and bullets were found and safely destroyed, and a total of 46,000 m2 of land was released to support safe and voluntary return and resettlement. UNMAS also delivered EORE sessions to IDPs to enable them to recognize, mitigate and report explosive hazards.
Explosive Ordnance Risk Education:
In Magwi, Eastern Equatoria, UNMAS delivered EORE to nearly 2,000 community members, including farmers, charcoal producers, hunters, women, and children, in the process of clearing land and infrastructures from December 2019 to February 2020. Special sessions were organized in schools to ensure children were well briefed. “I know some item[s] are dangerous and I know that my children will play with them when I’m not around. That is why EORE is so important to my children,’’ said a mother of three. As a result of the EORE sessions, villagers reported several explosive hazards in the surrounding area.
UNMAS South Sudan mainly receives funding from assessed contributions to the UN Peacekeeping operation through the Department of Peace Operations, in addition to funding from the Government of Japan through the Voluntary Trust Fund (VTF) for Mine Action.
(Data as of August 2020)