Joint Press Release
United Nations Mine Action Service
10 March 2015
JAPAN DONATES 3 MILLION USD TO SUPPORT THE UNITED NATIONS MINE ACTION SERVICE INTERVENTION IN GAZA
Jerusalem (10 March 2015): Japan contributed US$3 million to the Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action, enabling the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) to mitigate explosive hazards in Gaza.
Explosive remnants of war (ERW) present a significant risk for civilians and hamper humanitarian and reconstruction operations in Gaza. The latest escalation of hostilities in Gaza caused unprecedented damage and destruction, leaving an estimated 7,000 ERWs and other explosive hazards buried amidst the rubble, a significantly higher level of contamination than in previous conflicts. ERW accidents have increased significantly since August 2014; in the last five months, 11 persons have been killed and 40 injured.
To date, UNMAS has supported the United Nations Development programme (UNDP) Rubble Removal project in Shejaayea one of the most impacted areas of Gaza, clearing 166 areas. UNMAS support allows rubble removal to progress safely despite the high level of contamination, allowing Gazans to start rehabilitating homes and businesses. UNMAS continues to work closely with the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Relied and Works Agency (UNRWA) to ensure the widespread delivery of ERW risk education to vulnerable populations in the entire Gaza Strip.
Japan is an important partner to UNMAS programmes in many countries. The critical fmancial support from the People of Japan will enable UNMAS to continue to protect civilians and support reconstruction in Gaza. Japan recently decided to disburse US$100 million mainly through international organizations, including UNMAS. Japan and UNMAS will continue working to support the reconstruction of Gaza.
UNMAS has served Palestine since 2009 and sent an emergency team to Gaza on 27 July 2014 at the request of the United Nations Secretary-General. Since, UNMAS conducted 218 emergency deployments, surveying and clearing key infrastructure that was damaged or destroyed, including the Rafah Crossing and Gaza power plant. UNMAS cleared all schools affected by the hostilities at the request of UNRWA and UNICEF, allowing more than 250,000 children to return to studies following the hostilities. In addition, UNMAS provided ERW risk education to 6,185 United Nations staff, humanitarian workers, internally displaced persons, teachers, engineers, construction workers, and other at-risk populations.
UNMAS currently supports mine action programmes in Abyei (Sudan/South Sudan), Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire, Darfur (Sudan), Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, State of Palestine, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and the Territory of Western Sahara (MINURSO).
For more information please contact:
Mr. David Bax, UNMAS Palestine Programme Manager (Jerusalem)
Email: email@example.com, Tel: +972(0)547693172
Ms. Sonia Pezier, UNMAS Palestine Junior Programme Officer (Jerusalem)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel +972(0)546773178