Chad field update

Protecting locals from explosive weapons

After decades of armed conflict, the Lake Chad region remains littered with explosive remnants of war. Humanity & Inclusion (which operates under the name of Handicap International) puts up warning signs around hazardous areas and runs risk education sessions to help protect locals from the dangers of explosive remnants.

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Risk education

A two-person risk education team from HI is teaching people living in Baga Sola and Liwa, in Chad’s Lake region, how to spot, avoid, and report any weapons they may find in their communities. These sessions are held outside in the shade, in front of a mosque, or in school playground where HI staff use cartoon strips to teach small groups of 25 people about explosive remnants of war, the harm they can do, and how to prevent it. Since January 2018, six thousand individuals, of which the majority are displaced after fleeing the violence of Boko Haram, have taken part in these risk educations sessions.

Warning signs

When an explosive remnant is found, a sign is put up as a warning to local people. MAG[1], a partner organization, then removes and destroys the explosive remnants.

HI’s team regularly returns to sites where explosive remnants have been identified in order to check several things: Is the explosive remnant still visible? Has it been covered by sand? Are necessary warning signs still there and visible?

c_Benoit-Almeras_HI__A_mine_explosive_sign_place_in_Chad_by_HI.jpgWarning signs often disappear. Sometimes they are buried in the sand or taken and used by local people for firewood. That’s why, our team regularly returns to sites to make sure the signs are still there and visible. Some explosive remnants are recovered by Boko Haram for use as improvised explosive devices.

Once individuals been informed of the risks, they are more alert and are better equipped to stay safe from explosive remnants identified by HI. This reduces the number of accidents before the area can be cleared of explosive weapons.

By the end of this year, HI and its partner organizations will begin clearing explosives in North Chad. Learn more about the work we’re doing in Chad.

 

[1] Mines Advisory Group