Territory: 434,128 km²
Population: 28.9 million
Estimated contaminated area: min. 1,838 km²
Estimated number of mines and ERW: 20 million mines and up to 6 million submunitions
Mine Situation in Iraq
Iraq is among the countries with the highest amount of mine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) contamination. An estimated 20 million landmines, and between 2.6 and 6 million unexploded bombs still lay in Iraq. The presence of these landmines is a direct consequence of the war with Iran (1980-1988), the Gulf War in 1991 and the US-led invasion in 2003.
The mine problem is intensified by the fact that there are no laying plans and therefore no reliable data on the exact location of the mine fields. This makes demining in Iraq very expensive and time-consuming.
Another problem is the large number of ordnance stocks that were sacked after the fall of Saddam Hussein and are now in the hands of extremists.
Due to the contamination of landmines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW), thousands of people have already been injured or killed in Iraq. The records do not show the exact number of victims because many of the accidents are not reported and therefore do not appear in the statistics. The actual number of victims is probably several times higher than the numbers available.
It has become obvious that the unstable political and economic situation in Iraq, combined with the problematic mine situation, makes it impossible for the Iraqi leadership to eliminate the mines themselves. Therefore, the Iraqi government has asked the International Community for help in the clearance process.
DEMIRA in Iraq
Iraq will only overcome its long history of war and be able to reconstruct the country and its economy, once all remnants of war have been cleared.
DEMIRA became involved in Iraq with the aim of ridding the country of all the landmines and unexploded ordnance. Our team has already made explorations in the country to develop a project for the disposal of mines and to raise awareness about the risks of mines amongst the population.
Since the troops of the Islamic State (IS) have conquered parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014, many refugees are seeking shelter in the Kurdish territories in northern Iraq. DEMIRA supports the local humanitarian workers to make the life in the refugee centers bearable and informs the people about potential hazards.