2015 To Walk the Earth in Safety: Lebanon

Bureau of Political-Military Affairs

Date: 2015 Description: DanChurchAid's battle area clearance team is working in South Lebanon. The area is heavily contaminated with explosive remnants of war, which are blocking vital resources for socioeconomic development for communities. DanChurchAid has so far destroyed 165 items of UXO on this task alone.  © Photo courtesy of DanChurchAid.

Lebanon’s landmine and UXO problem is largely a result of the 1975–1991 civil war and the 2006 Israeli-Hizballah conflict. Since 1975, landmines and UXO have killed an estimated 900 people and injured thousands more. As of June 2014, non-technical survey and clearance reduced Lebanon’s landmine contamination to about 1,500 suspected mined areas covering 30,000,000 square meters (nearly 12 square miles), according to the Lebanese Mine Action Center. UXO response in southern Lebanon is a top priority, as the influx of refugees from Syria continues to impact the socioeconomic development of the region, drawing on important resources and swelling communities in locations already constrained by nearby UXO.

From FY1998 through FY2014, the United States invested more than $55.1 million in CWD for Lebanon, including $10 million in emergency assistance provided in response to the 2006 Israeli-Hizballah conflict. In FY2014, the U.S. government contributed more than $2.5 million for CWD in Lebanon.

The Department of State supported the work of the following implementing partners:

• Handicap International assisted with clearance priorities in communities in northern Lebanon.

• DanChurchAid assisted with clearance activities in southern Lebanon.

• MAG continued clearance activities in contaminated former battle areas in southern and central Lebanon.

• Marshall Legacy Institute provided mine detection dogs and support to clearance activities in Lebanon as well as victim assistance to survivors.

• ITF redirected unused FY2013 funds to a matching grant with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Fund for International Development. ITF divided the funds between NPA and DanChurchAid to use for clearance activities.

• NPA used FY2013 funds for capacity building in Lebanon.

The Department of Defense HD R&D program supported MAG in evaluating several soil excavations, sifting and grinding attachments on their own armored excavators. The Terrapin small excavator is speeding manual clearance by cutting and removing thick vegetation and excavating rocky areas to expose ordnance. Together the technologies have cleared 127,686 square meters (more than 31 acres) and found 4,078 mines and items of UXO.