Decades of armed conflict in Lebanon have left behind a legacy of landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) scattered throughout the entire country. Based on information provided by the Lebanon Mine Action Centre, approximately 60.5 square kilometres of land remains to be cleared. Out of these, 20.2 square kilometres is estimated to be contaminated by landmines, 18.1 square kilometres by cluster bombs, 15.2 square kilometres by other unexploded ordnance, while more than 7 square kilometres represent mine contamination in the Blue Line area.
The presence of landmines, cluster munitions and other ERW in Lebanon has had a socioeconomic impact, which goes beyond the obvious danger to people’s lives and livelihoods, since it hinders development of contaminated areas and denies access to agricultural land that is one of the primary sources of income. It is known that landmines only have killed 907 and injured 2,839 people in Lebanon since the 1975. Moreover, between August 2006 and June 2016, cluster bombs alone have killed 58 and injured 421. Until today, only small number of survivors received physical and psychosocial rehabilitation or were included in income generating projects.
The pressure on land, infrastructure and services in Lebanon is even higher in recent years due to continuous influx of refugees from Syria. Syrian refugee children in particular have experienced tremendous atrocities, they were traumatized due to losing relatives', they were ripped out from their families and home environment, being physically and psychologically hurt. It is of utmost importance to provide these children with psychosocial support and assistance, so they will be able to cope with pressures and traumas they are experiencing on daily bases in the environment they were forced into as refugees.
What we do
Clearance of Cluster Munitions and other ERW
ITF has supported the clearance of cluster munitions and other ERW in Southern Lebanon since 2009. Until end of August 2015, almost 1.3 square kilometres of land was cleared with 1,037 dangerous items found and destroyed. Cleared land was handed over to local communities for further productive use. As the pressure on land is high and rising due to continued influx of Syrian refugees, clearance and risk education activities have an even greater socio-economic and life-saving value for the growing population of Lebanon. There is a great need to enhance clearance activities in Lebanon, focusing on Blue Line as well.
ITF has enabled physical rehabilitation of 18 mine/ERW victims and supported coordination between the members of National Victim Assistance Steering Committee. Since the majority of victims never received any support, ITF further advocates the importance to fund the project where the needs would be addressed holistically through the provision of physical rehabilitation, psychosocial support and inclusion into income generating activities.
In addition, ITF is striving to ensure continuous funding for the project aimed at preventing a “Lost Generation” of children and adolescents, who are Syrian refugees. Targeting the youth residing in the Shatila refugee camp with educational and psychosocial care and attention shall enable them to overcome the sufferings and difficulties that they have experienced during the times of conflict and prolonged periods of being refugees.
In 2015, ITF has enhanced national capacities by training and providing 5 mine detection dogs to Lebanon Mine Action Centre (LMAC). The dogs are used for second clearance asset and quality control executed by LMAC over the works of international and national NGOs.