ERBIL — The UK contributed an additional £4 million ($5.22 million) towards the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) programme in Iraq, allowing the clearance of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to continue in areas newly liberated from the Islamic State (IS).
The UK government released a report on Tuesday, saying that the provided support will enable UNMAS to continue improving the humanitarian and stabilization process in Iraq, especially critical to the reconstruction and safe facilitation of all returning displaced civilians.
The financial aid would also allow UNMAS to support the Iraqi government in providing help to all the victims affected by IED explosions and to further raise public awareness about the threats.
The report pointed out that the presence of IEDs and explosive hazards (EH) poses a direct threat to those responding to the needs of internally displaced persons from areas formerly under the IS-control and those who have returned to the recently recaptured areas.
“Da'esh [IS] is in retreat but their hidden explosives remain a threat in liberated areas like Mosul. Only after these dangerous devices have been removed can people return safely and begin to rebuild their lives. Today’s announcement demonstrates UK’s continued commitment to this vital work," British Ambassador to Iraq Frank Baker said in the report.
UNMAS is currently working in the newly liberated areas of Nineveh, Anbar and Salahaddin provinces, mostly providing emergency survey and clearance. The programme has so far completed over 800 assessments of critical areas, and provided life-saving education to more than 292,000 displaced persons.