Improving safety among explosive hazard clearance operators in Libya
Thanks to a contribution from CERF, in July 2017, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) delivered advanced medical first responder courses and donated the necessary emergency trauma equipment to provide mine action operators in Libya with the necessary skills and tools to implement their work as safely as possible.
“We are doing very dangerous work—demining and ERW disposal— and we are all at risk of injury. Therefore, we need to know how to respond and perform medical evacuation in order to save lives,” explained a Libyan explosive ordnance disposal technician participating to the training.
In Libya, explosive hazards, including unexploded ordnance, mines and improvised explosive devices cause immense damage and result in casualties among both the civilian population and the security forces carrying out clearance activities.
Last year, at least 41 clearance operators were killed—36 of them in Benghazi alone. Given the life-saving criticality of their work, as well as the shortage of technicians in the country, the loss of so many trained specialists has a staggering impact, for the families of the deceased and injured, as well as for local populations and humanitarian actors.
In fact, the work of Libyan clearance operators not only saves lives, but also facilitates humanitarian and development activities by allowing safe access.
UNMAS recognized these technicians urgently lack skills and equipment to safely conduct their work and subsequently designed a comprehensive training package for Libyan clearance operators. The courses are tailored to the specific needs of the participants based on the complex explosive threats these brave individuals encounter in their work.
This funding was part of an allocation of US$ 6 million to provide humanitarian assistance to the people afflicted by the conflict in Libya. The funds have been released from CERF’s underfunded emergency window in early March 2017.
Photo 1 (credit UNMAS): With CERF support, UNMAS designed emergency medical training packages to provide mine action operators in Libya with the required skills and tools to carry out their work as safely as possible.