MAG is working to help the Peruvian Army destroy dangerous munitions in a bid to save lives.
Incredible drone footage has captured the moment several large controlled explosions rocked the Peruvian landscape, as 15 tons of dangerous items were destroyed to help keep communities safe from unplanned explosions.
With the support of MAG, the Peruvian forces have identified and destroyed more than 500 US tons of dangerous, and in many cases degrading, munitions in the two years since the project began.
“Around the world weapons and ammunition can often be stored in or near built-up areas so if there is an unplanned explosion the consequences can be devastating, causing mass death and injury, as well as destroying homes, schools and other buildings,” says MAG’s Country Director in Peru, Antonio Armentano.
“This is why we take old, potentially unstable munitions to remote places where they can be safely destroyed. The explosion you see in the drone footage shows MAG destroying roughly 15 US Tons of obsolete munitions from the Peruvian Army including mortars and rockets.”
Unsecured or mismanaged munitions pose a threat to people living in countless countries across the globe. Often the weapons and ammunition become unstable after becoming obsolete, being mismanaged or stored in unsuitable conditions. This is particularly true of areas such as the Peruvian Amazon where the hot and humid environment can cause materials to degrade over time.
Several people have been critically injured or killed as a consequence of unplanned explosions at munitions sites in Peru. A few incidents occurred in army facilities resulting in the death of soldiers and, in many cases, civilian injuries.
If there is an unplanned explosion the consequences can be devastating, causing mass death and injury, as well as destroying homes, schools and other buildings
Antonio Armentano, MAG Country Director in Peru
MAG's work in Peru is supported by the US government which is committed to reducing the harmful effects of at-risk, illicitly proliferated, and indiscriminately used weapons of war.
Stanley Brown, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, U.S. Department of State says:
“The U.S. is proud to partner with MAG and the Government of Peru to better manage their munition stockpiles, reducing the potential of depot explosions and illicit diversion of weapons. This work directly benefits not just the Peruvian people but also citizens from neighbouring countries.”
MAG specialists have been training members of the Peruvian military on how to destroy the munitions in a safe and stable way, giving them the tools to continue the vital work in the future.
This is not an issue confined to Peru. In 2012, for instance, more than 200 people were killed when an ammunitions store in Congo’s capital city, Brazzaville, exploded in the middle of the night after a short circuit caused a blaze inside the military depot.
Hundreds of people were injured and buildings in close proximity were flattened. The blast was so strong it shattered windows in a neighbouring town 5km away.
In addition to MAG's work to remove landmines and unexploded bombs, it is these explosions that the organisation is working tirelessly, across the world, to avoid.