Libya: Avoiding explosive weapons

Explosive remnants of war continue to hurt or kill Libyan civilians, six months after the fall of the regime of Muammar Gaddafi.

Last week, a 13-year-old Libyan boy died from injuries sustained when a weapon exploded in Zlitan, a coastal town located about 31 miles from Misrata. Libyan children and adolescents are bearing the brunt of these accidents. In the region, 80% of recorded casualties were younger than 23. Children and adolescents are the most vulnerable, due to a lack of awareness of the dangers these weapons pose.

Handicap International is committed, every day, to preventing such injuries by clearing contaminated areas, and through risk education. Since launching operations in Libya in March 2011, Handicap International destroyed more than 3,500 explosive remnants of war and the association has reached about 50,000 people with its safety messages. As of March 20, the organization has distributed approximately 60,000 leaflets to vulnerable communities in Libya, and has displayed 5,000 posters in contaminated towns and cities. The organization has distributed 20,000 children's textbooks, primarily during risk-education sessions in schools. (Please read our most recent situation report.)

Last week, Handicap International teams secured two parks and a school in Sirte. Now the kids can play and learn again safely. In March, the organization also deployed in Dafniya, following the explosion of ammunition storage located a few hundred feet from the municipal school. The association taught 300 children about the risks of unexploded ordnance.