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More then 5 million square metres of minefields are cleared in the Kurdistan Region

The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) ninth cabinet remains committed to ensuring the safety of its citizens. One significant expression of this commitment is the work of the Iraqi Kurdistan Mine Action Agency (IKMAA) which cleared a staggering 5,038,629 square metres of land mines between 2019 and 2023, which can be summarised as follows:

2019 – 2020: In this period, 2,056,657 square metres spread over 68 distinct minefields across the four governorates of the Kurdistan Region were de-mined. This operation resulted in the destruction of 5,092 anti-personnel mines, 9 anti-tank mines, and 6,759 other explosive remnants. IKMAA, keenly aware of the lingering dangers, held 4,589 meetings and community visits, educating a diverse audience on mine risks. They further distributed 173,784 awareness leaflets during these sessions.

2020 – 2021: Approximately 249,832 square metres spanning 6 minefields were cleared. This saw the removal of 1,472 anti-personnel mines, 26 anti-tank mines, and 21,805 other explosive remnants. Furthermore, IKMAA's outreach programs conducted 1,894 visits and ensured 143,071 awareness leaflets were shared with the public.

2021 – 2022: Roughly 690,268 square metres across 23 minefields were de-mined. The operation led to the elimination of 2,179 anti-personnel mines, 246 anti-tank mines, and 19,330 other explosives. IKMAA, maintaining their educational thrust, conducted 3,830 outreach sessions, distributing 49,176 mine awareness leaflets.

2022 – 2023: A total of 2,041,854 square metres of land across 49 minefields were cleared. This initiative resulted in the destruction of 3,648 anti-personnel mines, 8 anti-tank mines, and 23,415 different explosives. Additionally, IKMAA held 3,441 meetings and visits, distributing 191,135 awareness leaflets.

Support for Mine Victims: Beyond de-mining efforts, the KRG has shown unwavering support to the victims of mines and explosives. Assistance includes emergency medical care, natural therapies, prosthetic services, wheelchairs, physiotherapy, walking aids such as crutches and sticks, rehabilitation centres, financial support through income fund projects, and osseointegration procedures. Between 2019 and 2023, approximately 54,314 victims received this multifaceted support.

Historical Context and Conclusions:

The war between Iraq and Iran from 1980 to 1988, combined with the detrimental policies of successive Iraqi governments, made large areas of agricultural land inaccessible. These lands were desecrated by the Iraqi army, which transformed them into hazardous minefields. This devastated the region's agricultural and rural infrastructure. The scars of these tumultuous periods remain, but the KRG persists in its mission to clear these minefields, aiming to restore the Kurdistan Region as a safe haven for its people.