Territory: 10,452 km²
Population: 5.88 million
Estimated contaminated area: 47 km²
Mine Situation in Lebanon
During the 34 days long Lebanese war in 2006, it is estimated that four million cluster bombs were dropped over southern Lebanon. Approximately one million did not detonate, and remained a threat to the local population, with hundreds of villages located in or surrounded by minefields. The conflict left behind a country in ruins and claimed more than 1,500 lives.
After the conflict, the population could not return to normal life because walking to school, going to work, or going to the market could not be done without running the risk of being injured or killed by unexploded ordnance (UXO).
The 2006 conflict aggravated the already problematic mine situation in Lebanon. Indeed, during the conflict with Israel, hundreds of thousands of landmines and submunitions were left behind. Between 1975 and 2009, 960 people were killed by landmines or UXOs. For a number of years, the amount of mine accidents had somewhat reduced as a result of mine awareness and mine risk education programmes. However, after the 2006 war, the number of mine related accidents increased once again.
DEMIRA in Lebanon
In the aftermath of the bombings, the population of southern Lebanon was in immediate need of medical assistance. DEMIRA opened an emergency medical post in the Lebanese village of Yarine. In addition to the medical post, two ambulances were used as mobile clinics. This allowed to offer medical provisions to surrounding villages and settlements and ensured that all three ethnic groups (Christians, Shiites and Sunnis) could be achieved in the different settlements. By the end of the deployment DEMIRA was able to transfer the field hospital to local specialists.
During the deployment in Lebanon, it became apparent that landmines and cluster munitions had been used during the conflict. Thus DEMIRA carried out mine surveys along the border between Lebanon and Israel. The surveys were carried out to identify contaminated areas. DEMIRA also organised mine awareness and mine risk education (MRE) programmes to educate the volunteers of a local NGO about the prevalent mine and UXO risks. The trained volunteers then acted as disseminators, informing the local population about the risks of landmines and how to avoid accidents.