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Mosul: a city under siege by improvised explosive devices & bombs

Press release | 9th July 2018, 17:00

One year after Mosul’s liberation, eight million tons [1] of conflict debris some of which includes explosive remnants of war, still contaminate the city, and thousands of injured people are trying to access medical treatment. Meanwhile, more than 300,000 [2] displaced people are still surviving in camps and communities as Mosul, littered with explosive remnants of war, remains a ticking time bomb.

Humanity & Inclusion (the new name of Handicap International) has released a fact sheet about the situation in Mosul. Download the factsheet (PDF, 2.1MB)

Unprecedented contamination

Between October 2016 and July 2017, 1,717 airstrikes and 2,867 explosive hazard incidents hit the city of Mosul, leaving behind an unprecedented amount of explosive remnants of war. Added to this are the thousands of victim-activated improvised explosive devices left as traps by the Islamic State group. In Al-Shifa hospital alone, mine actors found 1,500 explosive remnants of war [3]. Even today, accidents are numerous and whole areas of the city remain inaccessible due to heavy contamination. Since July 10, 2017, Humanity & Inclusion received reports of 127 accidents involving 186 casualties in Nineveh province. This figure is likely higher, as the exact the number of casualties is uncertain.

The consequences for civilians are serious: death, severe injuries, permanent disabilities, including a high number of amputations of upper and lower limbs. Between July 10, 2017 and March 15, 2018, Humanity & Inclusion provided rehabilitation services to 1,225 people. Among them, 34% were injured in the conflict [4], and out of these people 86% were injured by explosive weapons.

The massive presence of explosive remnants in the city prevents people from returning to normal life after years of trauma. As of May 15, 2018, 57% of displaced persons from the Nineveh district [5] did not plan to return to their homes. Among them, 22% cite the presence of victim-activated IEDs and explosive remnants as a reason for non-return.

Years to rebuild and clear

Humanity & Inclusion is calling on the international community to face up to its responsibilities. The disproportion of the attacks carried out, and the size of the remaining threat posed by victim-activated IEDs and explosive remnants make Mosul one of the most contaminated cities in the world.

"The urgent need is to clear contaminated areas, raise awareness of the dangers of explosive remnants and to ensure assistance to the casualties, survivors and indirect victims," says Thomas Hugonnier, who leads Humanity & Inclusion’s mine action operations. "On the ground, we are operational, but the challenge now is for States to support demining operations in the long term. The international community must do everything in its power to remove the obstacles preventing the people of Mosul from returning to a normal life."

Humanity & Inclusion in Iraq

HI has been present in Iraq for 25 years. Since 2014, its teams have been working alongside displaced people near the conflict zones. The organization supports injured people and the most vulnerable, provides mine risk education sessions to communities, and demines the areas hardest hit by explosive remnants of war.


[1] UN Habitat and the United Nations Environment Program.
[2] Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).
[3] United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS).
[4] These injuries include bullet wounds, explosive weapons and other forms of violence (including torture), and injuries caused by events related to the crisis.
[5] REACH, CCCM cluster, Iraq: Camps Intentions Survey Round 2 National Level, January 2018.

Press contact
Marlene Sigonney, Humanity & Inclusion UK
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +44 (0)870 774 3737 | +44 (0)7508 810 520

  • Interviews available with Thomas Hugonnier, head of mine action operations at HI.
  • Explosive hazards: another fear for the population in Mosul Download the factsheet (PDF, 2.1MB)

About Humanity & Inclusion

Humanity & Inclusion (HI) is an independent charity working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. We work tirelessly alongside and vulnerable people to help meet their basic needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights.

Since its creation in 1982, HI has set up development programs in more than 60 countries and intervenes in numerous emergency situations. The network of 8 national associations (Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States) works constantly to mobilize resources, co-manage projects and promote the principles and actions of the organization. Humanity & inclusion is one of the six founding associations of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), co-winner of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize and winner of the 2011 Conrad N. Hilton Prize.

HI-US Media Contact

Mira Adam
Sr. Media Officer
[email protected]
Tel: +1 (202) 855-0301

Elizabeth J. Sellers
e[email protected]
Tel: +1 (270) 847-3443


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