Tripoli, 20 December 2013:
Communities in Tripoli neighbourhoods affected by armed clashes have been alerted to the dangers still posed by unexploded ordinance, weapons and ammunition by a campaign targeting districts that experienced heavy fighting.
Community liaison teams from international NGO the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) raised awareness amongst locals by putting up posters and distributing leaflets. These gave information about dangerous items and what to do if these were found.
“The problem is that there is a great lack of awareness among men, women and children of the threat and risks involved,” said MAG Community Liaison Assistant in Libya, Belgassim Issa. “In particular, children and young men are often curious and tend to engage in risky behaviour, which makes them highly vulnerable.”
MAG also ran safety sessions for 11 and 12 year-olds at a local school, explaining how youngsters could protect themselves and spot dangerous items. These sessions focussed on the key messages that if children found a suspicious item, they should not play with it, or even approach or touch it but inform an adult as soon as possible.
“Many kids mentioned they have weapons or ammunition at home – imagine how risky and dangerous that is,” said Belgassim. “Now they know what to do to stay safe. They all want to be safe, they just needed the right risk education messages.”
MAG has been working in Libya since April 2011, clearing unexploded ordinance and landmines and raising awareness of the risks posed by small arms and light weapons.