http://diyaruna.com/en_GB/articles/cnmi_di/features/2019/09/20/feature-03

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Society |

Iraq launches programme to assist ISIS landmine victims

By Khalid al-Taie

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Iraqi victims of ISIS-planted mines receive prosthetic limbs in 2015. [Photo courtesy of the Iraqi Mine Action Directorate]

Iraqi authorities have begun to survey the victims of mines and explosive devices in provinces liberated from the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS), a government official told Diyaruna Friday (September 20th).

The directorate of mine action at the Ministry of Health and Environment has launched a project to survey all survivors of ISIS's explosive remnants of war, director Khalid Rashad told Diyaruna.

The project involves recording the number of victims and classifying them according to the type and level of the harm inflicted upon them, he said.

The first phase was launched in Anbar province, where the directorate's teams are working on compiling the data and including it into an integrated database, he added.

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Iraqi residents of Diyala province listen to instructions on how to recognise and avoid unexploded mines in 2017. [Photo courtesy of the Iraqi Mine Action Directorate]

"Once the mission is completed, we will move to the province of Ninawa and from there to the rest of the provinces whose populations have been affected by terrorism," said Rashad.

These efforts will help the directorate to strengthen the health and social services provided to the victims and offer them comprehensive care, he said.

"Through this project, we will be able to determine exactly how many people need care and what kind of medical assistance they need," he said, including prosthetic limbs and therapeutic and rehabilitation support.

"We will also work in co-ordination with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs to provide more targeted social services to landmine victims in order to motivate them to integrate in their communities and cope with their health conditions," Rashad said.

The directorate of mine action will conduct joint programmes with other government agencies to improve the victims’ living conditions, ​​he added.

Raising awareness

The directorate has also been conducting public awareness activities about the dangers of mines and explosive materials, Rashad said.

"Over the last two years we have conducted around 24,000 visits and educational field activities that have benefited two million residents in liberated areas," he said.

Awareness campaigns involve direct communication with the local population via visits and meetings at schools and in public places, he said, adding that leaflets and educational materials are distributed at these events.

Additionally, warnings about the dangers of approaching or tampering with foreign objects are disseminated through the media, he said.

Citizens are instructed to call the Directorate of Mine Action's (182) toll-free number upon encountering any foreign object, or the Civil Defence Directorate’s (115) toll free number.

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