Protecting civilians in conflict

Everyone has the right to live in safety and without fear. 

When explosive weapons are used in towns and cities, civilian lives are put at risk. Nine in ten of the people killed and injured by explosive weapons in populated areas are ordinary women, girls, boys and men. 

Critical infrastructure such as water, sanitation, and healthcare are destroyed, depriving people of basic necessities. When explosive weapons are dropped or fired, they do not always explode on impact, leaving unexploded bombs lying in the ground for decades.

But with your support, we can begin clearance of these deadly explosives and help to inspire communities to rebuild their homes and livelihoods. In areas where clearance is not immediately available, our life-saving risk education sessions help to teach communities what to look out for and how to stay safe amongst the destruction.

Jon Brown, MAG

“Everything we had built was gone.”

The conflict in Syria has taken an unimaginable toll on the people who live there. 

Villages, towns and cities became battlegrounds, and the devastating impacts of conflict became part of everyday life for ordinary people. In one such village, almost all of the 600 houses were reduced to rubble – just two buildings were left standing. 

After years of conflict and bombardment with explosive weapons, this village is almost safe again, thanks to your generosity. MAG teams have cleared 90% of the known and suspected hazardous areas, finding IEDs and unexploded bombs amid the ruins. As a result, about 400 of the houses have been rebuilt, but the psychological damage cannot be undone and the road to recovery is a slow one.

“I am worried about our safety all the time,” said Amira, “You cannot say you are safe until you know the war is finished forever. We always are in fear of more war in the future. This is the price we pay.”

This village’s story is not an isolated one – by 2017 around a third of homes in Syria had been damaged or destroyed. Rebuilding is a long and slow process which often first needs the land to be cleared of unexploded bombs. 

Your support helps families like Amira’s move beyond the horrors of conflict and look to the future with hope.

Thanks to your support, children like Karim can look forward to a brighter future with a safe home and safe access to education.

Karim and Grandmother Rahan, Iraq

Sean Sutton, MAG

Staying safe in the rubble

Iraq is a country ravaged by conflict after conflict. 

Explosive weapons like mortars and shells have reduced whole neighbourhoods to rubble, and thousands of these weapons landed but did not explode. They remain where they fell.

Thousands of people fled the fighting, but as the conflict situation improves, they are returning home. It’s vital that people returning to their homes know how to spot, avoid and report suspicious items, and that’s just what MAG’s life saving lessons are for.

These lessons aren’t just for adults – it’s vital for children to understand how to stay safe, and the lessons really work. 

Friends Quiad, Mirza, Sherzad and Snerar attended one of our risk education sessions. They learnt what to be aware of when playing around their home and school and to tell their parents straight away if they see anything suspicious.

"MAG has told us about the things to watch out for. There are explosives around that could blow us up and kill us. If we find something we will run away and tell our parents.”