Tripoli, 30 August 2013:
The clearance of ammunition and weapons from 43 unsafe concrete bunkers in an area badly damaged by NATO bombs in 2011 is being threatened by a funding deficit.
Eleven of the ammunition storage bunkers have been “completely cleared and excavated” by international NGO Handicap International (HI) teams, in an operation funded by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The funding, however, runs out in December.
Work was started on the bunkers at the request of the local military council of Misrata, following the death of a local man who was collecting scrap metal in the vicinity of the bunkers.
HI is now seeking funding to continue clearing the remaining weapons and ammunition from the 32 bunkers and the surrounding villages from January 2014.
“A priority for Libya has to be the removal and destruction of all the remaining unexploded and abandoned ordnance,” said Handicap International Libya’s Chief of Operations Paul McCullough: “After everything this country has seen in the last two years, the last thing people need is the fear of injury or disability, or worse loss of lives, for themselves and their families.”
Funding is starting to dry up for many mine clearance agencies working in Libya. In July the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) announced that a $18.5 million shortfall in funding meant the clearance of mines and unexploded ordinance in the country faced an uncertain future. [/restrict]