Background Brief - Mine Action
The Oil-for-Food Programme was established in April 1995 as a temporary
measure to ease the unintended consequences of United Nations sanctions on
Iraq's civilian population. The first Iraqi oil sold under the programme to pay
for humanitarian supplies, was exported in December 1996 and the first shipments
of food arrived in March 1997. As of 20 March 2003, the Oil-for-Food Programme
covered 24 sectors of need and had prevented the further degradation of public
services and infrastructure, making a significant difference in the humanitarian
Mine Action is linked with other sectors of the United Nations humanitarian programme in the three northern governorates of Iraq.
As of 20 March 2003, it had paved the way for eight UN agency activities including housing, resettlement and the construction of electrical infrastructure, throughout the north.
The Oil-for-Food Programme funded the clearance of some 76,500 landmines since 1998, restoring mine-free areas to landowners for agricultural and other civilian uses. Mine safety instruction courses
were provided to 240 communities, reaching 7,176 men, 8,353 women and 14,045 children. Medical consultations for mine victims ranged from treatment, to the fitting of orthoprosthetics and rehabilitation.
The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) launched the ninth phase of its mine action project for the northern governorates in 2002. Its emergency demining programme
had a team of expatriate deminers stationed in each governorate where they train local teams in the latest clearance techniques. As of August 2001, approximately 27,000 families in 165 communities had benefitted from UNOPS-implemented mine clearance activities. As a result of this work, more than 400 additional tons of crops were produced in 2001 on cleared land, 34,700 livestock were able to graze safely, 3,300 people had improved water supplies, and 400,000 people near Sulaymaniyah gained access to electricity.
For more information on demining in Iraq