UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 27 September 2006
1. “It is possible that we are looking for as many as one million unexploded cluster bomb sub-munitions” according to Christopher Clark, Programme Manager of the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre - South Lebanon (MACC-SL). He made his statement at a UN press conference held 26 September by the UN, with representatives from the National Demining Office (NDO), MACC-SL, UNICEF, and UNHCR. The press conference highlighted the dangers of UXOs and cluster sub-munitions and the importance of awareness campaigns targeting the displaced people returning to their hometowns in the south. MACC-SL expects clearance of most of the UXOs and cluster sub-munitions will take between 12 to 15 months. It also reported that UNIFIL is still waiting for the Israel Defense Forces to hand over the coordinates and maps needed to identify cluster bomb strike locations.
2. Fourteen people have been killed and 90 injured from all types of unexploded ordnance in Lebanon from 14 August until 19 September. Of these totals, children (6 years to 18 years of age) accounted for two of the fatalities and 32 of the injuries, according to Lebanon’s National Demining Office. All the fatalities and most of the injuries resulted from cluster munitions.
3. For each cluster-bomb strike, clearance personnel must verify an area totaling 196,000 square meters to locate (and eventually destroy) all unexploded bomb sub-munitions.
4. In addition to cluster bomb sub-munitions, an estimated 15,300 other items of unexploded ordnance are on the ground in southern Lebanon. Other unexploded ordnance includes air-dropped bombs of 500 lbs. to 2,000 lbs (found in residential areas), ground- and naval-launched artillery rounds, and air-delivered rockets.
5. As of 26 September, the number of cleared UXOs and cluster sub-munitions is 40,000.
6. Over 350 Lebanese Army personnel, and some 200 NGO and commercial company personnel under the coordination of MACC-SL, plus UNIFIL troops, are clearing the Lebanese south from UXOs and cluster sub-munitions.
7. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has pledged to continue its financial support to clearing mines and to cluster bomb sub-munitions disposal as well.
8. According to UNHCR, some 200,000 people remain displaced because of the level of destruction in their villages, and because of the UXOs and cluster sub-munitions which contaminate their houses and hometowns.
9. UNICEF is supporting the National Demining Office’s Mine Risk Education Steering Committee to implement a print and broadcast media campaign to raise awareness among civilians—especially children—about the dangers of UXO.
10. Adults working in the fields or clearing their homes are, of course, also at high risk. Effective UXO and mine awareness targeted at adults, especially farmers in remote villages, is being developed with the NGO Danish Church Aid (DCA) taking the lead on this issue.
11. UNHCR has provided support to UN mine action efforts in Lebanon, by providing logistical support, including provision of fuel for clearance organizations, and the loan of ten trucks for use by clearance teams.
12. A High Level Commission of Inquiry into the Situation in Lebanon arrived in Beirut on 23 September. The three-member delegation of the UN Human Rights Council includes Joao Clemente Baena Soares of Brazil, Mohamed Chande Othman of Tanzania and Stelios Perrakis of Greece. The independent and impartial body will remain in Lebanon until 07 October to investigate the systematic targeting and killing of civilians by Israel in Lebanon; examine the types of weapons used by Israel and their conformity with international law; and assess the extent and deadly impact of Israeli attacks on human life, property, critical infrastructure and the environment. The delegation will meet with government officials, the diplomatic community and representatives of civil society and will travel to areas affected by the recent conflict to collect evidence and witness accounts of the military operations.