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Libya

Children on a tank in Libya

Photo: Sean Sutton/MAG

While the revolution ended in 2011, landmines, unexploded ordnance and leftover or poorly stored ammunition continue to threaten communities.

Extensive stockpiles of weapons and explosives that had been stored in bunkers became unsecured during the conflict, leaving open access to those who wanted it.

Most households now have small arms and light weapons, which, in the face of political uncertainty, they’re reluctant to give up. The result is that children in particular are at risk of accidental injury from unsecured guns in their houses.

There are also wider implications for regional stability, with reports of items being moved across borders into neighbouring countries and sub-Saharan Africa, and falling into the hands of non-state military groups.

LandminesA landmine is defined by the Mine Ban Treaty as "a munition designed to be placed under, on or near the ground or other surface area and to be exploded by the presence, proximity or contact of a person or a vehicle."

Landmines are generally divided into two main groups - anti-personnel and anti-tank - and have four main component parts: an outer structure made of either plastic, wood, metal, Bakelite, rubber or even glass; a fuse or firing mechanism; a detonator; and high explosives.

Some contain thousands of pieces of shrapnel, designed to fire out to great distances, while others have been made with a minimum amount of metal and are therefore difficult to detect using metal detectors.
Unexploded ordnanceExplosive weapons - such as bombs, rockets, missiles, mortars and grenades - that did not explode when they were used and still pose a risk of detonation.Small arms'Small arms' include revolvers, self-loading pistols, rifles and carbines, sub-machine guns, assault rifles, light machine guns.light weapons'Light weapons' include hand-held under-barrel and mounted grenade launchers, heavy machine guns, portable anti-aircraft and anti-tank guns, recoilless rifles, portable launchers of anti-tank missile and rocket systems, portable launchers of anti-aircraft missile systems (MANPADS), mortars of less than 100mm calibre.

Our work here in 2013

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Land cleared: 1,918,750m²

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Unexploded ordnance removed & destroyed: 108,600

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Risk Education safety sessions given: 824

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Men, women and children we helped directly: 18,740

Unexploded ordnanceExplosive weapons - such as bombs, rockets, missiles, mortars and grenades - that did not explode when they were used and still pose a risk of detonation.Risk EducationRisk Education (or Mine Risk Education) refers to activities that seek to reduce the risk of death and injury from landmines and other explosive weapons, and lessen their social and economic impact.

Risk Education includes the provision of safety messages to at-risk individuals and communities, raising awareness of the dangers and promoting safe behaviour.

I would like to thank MAG for their efforts to give us a safer life... Read more

Photo gallery: Conflict response in Libya

Documenting MAG's work to reduce the threat to civilians from unexploded ordnance.

[All photos: Sean Sutton/MAG, June 2011]

Unexploded ordnanceExplosive weapons - such as bombs, rockets, missiles, mortars and grenades - that did not explode when they were used and still pose a risk of detonation.Cluster munitionsCluster bombs, or cluster munitions, are weapons that can be dropped from the air by planes or fired from the ground.

They open in mid-air and release numerous (sometimes hundreds) explosive bomblets - 'submunitions' - over a wide area.

Most of these bomblets explode immediately, but many don't, killing and maiming civilians long after a conflict has ended.

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Libya flag iconAbout Libya

Population: 6.16 million

Life expectancy: 75 years

Gross National Income per capita: US $12,930

People with access to safe drinking water: 54%

People below the poverty line: approx. 33%

Figures: CIA, UNDP, UN Water, World Bank

Success story

"Have you ever dropped a glass on the floor and it did not break?" asks Khadija. "Does that mean that glass will not break the next time you drop it...?"’

Preventing people from losing limbs in Misrata

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