A man with short black hair and stubble wearing a tan HI vest stands outside a building

Correcting misconceptions through explosive ordnance risk education

Mykhailo Tsarik is an Explosive Ordnance Risk Education Agent working for Humanity & Inclusion in Ukraine. He explains the importance of his work to help people spot, avoid and report dangerous weapons.

I am Mykhailo and I work for HI as an Explosive Ordnance Risk Education Agent to inform people about the risks of explosive ordnances. It is important to do this all across Ukraine.

Right now, we are working in the Chernivtsi region because so many internally displaced people have come here. Over time, these people will return to their homes and they should know the right behaviors in case they encounter explosive objects.

The process of demining Ukrainian territories will take a lot of time. This region is relatively safe today, but that could change at any moment, and these young children will grow up soon and travel to other parts of Ukraine where they may come across these objects. So, they should know the right behaviors because these dangers will be present for these children and their future children for many years to come.

The most common misconception is a very simple one: Children think that you can step on a mine like in the movies and wait, and it will not explode. They think it will only explode once you remove your foot. Practically nobody knows that in reality, mines will explode the exact moment that you touch them.

Children may not know that cutting a wire does not diffuse the device, and they think you can touch ordnances. There have been frequent cases like this in my experience. Sometimes internally displaced children will try to saw devices apart to sell scrap metal. They see their parents do this and think that they can do the same, but this is incredibly dangerous.

We do our best to inform people about all different types of situations. Often, after a presentation, they come to us and thank us for the information because they did not know about these behaviors before.