Handover Ceremony of UXO Hotposts in Kordhoc and Picar, Albania
ITF representatives, donor representatives, government authorities, local representatives and operations representatives, met in Gjirokastër in Albania to celebrate the clearance of unexploded ordnance (UXO) on the hotspot sites of Khordoc and Picar conducted by operation teams of Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA). Present at the ceremony were also the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Albania, Ms Mimi Kodheli, and Minister of Culture, Ms Mirela Kumbaro, to stress the significance of fostering security in areas contaminated by UXO after storages exploded in Albania, like in Gjirokaster.
On 25 July 2016 NPA, supported by U.S. Department of State, started with clearance of hotspots in Picar and Kordhoc, as per the approved clearance plans.
In Kordhoc, the total estimated area to be cleared was 24,320 square meters, while 24,470 square meters were cleared in the end and a total of over 2,500 UXO, antipersonnel and antitank mines, and small arms ammunition were found. The clearance on the Kordhoc site was completed 31 March 2017. By 12 May 2017, NPA also completed clearance of the Picar hotspot. The total estimated area that had to be cleared was originally only 5,000 square meters, although, due to continuing dense contamination on some borders of the site, 25,474 square meters were to be cleared. NPA cleared 28,285 square meters and found 2,590 UXO, 14,007 small arms ammunition, and 2,789 small arms and light weapons. The clearance of both hotspots has been reviewed and confirmed by the Albanian Mines and Munitions Coordination Office (AMMCO).
The year-long efforts of NPA have proved to produce considerable results by returning previously contaminated areas safely to the hands of the local community. Once again, ITF is proud to be involved in the destination and management of funds for this as well as numerous other clearance operations in Albania. ITF is grateful to the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs – Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement at the U.S. Department of State for its continuous support.