MAG deminers prepare detectors for clearance operations.
"More than 30 trucks transport stones from Kherava to the sandstone factories in Mosul on a daily basis. At least 15 people work at this site every day. MAG has saved their lives" – Qayran Edo, village leader of Kherava
MAG cleared two areas contaminated by cluster submunitions in Kherava, around 55 kilometres north-west of Mosul city, after students at the local school told a Community Liaison team about the presence of bomblets in their village.
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In one of the areas, submunitions were blocking important land used for farming and grazing. The contamination had forced shepherds to travel far from the village to graze their sheep.
"In 2006, an accident took place involving a shepherd from Kherava who played with a cluster submunition and lost his life,” resident Vadar Mustafa told MAG staff. “Shepherds stopped using the land following that.”
The second area is used by workers from Kherava to collect stones that are then taken to Mosul. "More than 30 trucks transport stones from Kherava to Mosul on a daily basis,” said Qayran Edo, the village leader. “The stones are used by the factories to make sandstones, which are widely used in the construction of houses and buildings.
“At least 15 people work at this site every day. The workers used to live with a daily threat. MAG has saved their lives."
Working with the community
[Photos: MAG Iraq]
• A MAG Iraq Community Liaison (CL) team visited a primary school in Khanqi collective town in January.
Pupils from Khevara told the CL staff about the presence of cluster submunitions in their village. The CL team, funded by Irish Aid, immediately visited the village to gather more information and conduct a Community Assessment survey*, in order to prioritise the contaminated areas for emergency clearance.
[*Community Assessment gathers information on the community’s access to resources and services, the level of contamination and its impact on livelihood activities, such as shepherding, farming crops and small trade.]
• "While conducting the Community Assessment survey in Kherava, two areas contaminated by cluster submunitions were identified by the CL team," explains Vadar Mustafa, MAG's Community Liaison Coordinator at the Dohuk operations base. "Both lands were prioritised for clearance and the CL team conducted Mine Risk Education sessions to educate the villagers about the risks."
• Mine Risk Education sessions were delivered to more than 350 individuals from Kherava, including farmers, shepherds, workers and other villagers. MRE helps minimise the risks to people living, working and travelling through areas contaminated with landmines and other remnants of conflict.
Destroying the threat
• In April, two Mine Action Teams, financially supported by Irish Aid and Sida, were deployed from MAG's operations base in Dohuk to undertake clearance operations in Kherava.
• By the end of May, MAG teams had completed clearance of the 203,620 square metres of land and safely destroyed 55 cluster submunitions, directly benefiting more than 50 individuals who live and work in the area.
• The cleared land was handed over to the local communities in June. Handover ceremonies were held at Fayda sub-district mayor's office, where the mayor of Fayda, Kherava’s village leader and Kherava residents were amongst those present, along with MAG Iraq staff.
• Kherava is located in Fayda sub-district of Mosul governorate, 55km north-west of Mosul city.
• The village was destroyed by the former Iraqi military in 1985, its population of 560 forced to move to Khanqi collective town.
• Villagers' main income is from agriculture and collecting sandstones.
• The Iraqi military had a large presence in the area prior to 2003.
• In 2003, the coalition forces bombarded the area using cluster bombs.
• The population returned to the village after the 2003 war.
Reporting by Zana Kaka, Deputy Programme Officer, MAG Iraq
1 October 2010
MAG thanks the following current donors to the Iraq programme: Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, US Department of State; German Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs; The US Army Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate; Irish Aid; Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of the Netherlands; Stichting Vluchteling; Government of Belgium; Sida (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency); Marshall Legacy Institute.