Tripoli, 15 June:
The Sirte Power Plant and many local beaches have been cleared of mines and ordinance by international teams, but . . .[restrict]the education programme on the deadly dangers of unexploded ordinance (UXO), explosive remnants of war, and small arms and light weapons remains a high priority, especially among children, said the Joint Mine Action Coordination Team (JMACT) working in Libya.
The completion of the site clearance of the Sirte Power Plant by JMACT partners means that reconstruction work at the site can now restart, offering employment opportunities for hundreds of local people. The area has been declared safe following the removal of 106 items of unexploded ordinance, 29kg of small arms ammunition and 7kg of loose propellant.
Teams based in Sirte are now refocusing their clearance operations on the beaches in and around the city. These are expected to attract many visitors, including families, during the forthcoming holiday season and the removal of potential hidden dangers is a priority.
Unexploded ordinance and explosive remnants of war remain a particular threat to children, whose inherent natural curiosity attracts them to new and unfamiliar objects, meaning they can all too easily become victims. Picking up or even moving an item such as a small round or rocket can be extremely dangerous and education is a vital tool in reducing incidents.
International aid organisation Handicap International is now accelerating their Risk Education (RE) programme, which is particularly aimed at teenagers and children, who can be attracted by the colours of munitions. In Sirte and the surrounding area RE sessions have been held in 34 schools, reaching 1,520 students and 73 teachers.
A special RE session was held at Al-Rebat Al-Imami Mosque, which was attended by 165 men and 15 children. Sessions were also held for members of the city’s business community. Community liaison teams reached a further 151 people through home visits. Handicap International’s ‘hotline,’ enabling residents to alert experts to the presence of munitions, continues to contribute to the clearance operations.