MOGADISHU, April 4 (Xinhua) -- At least 3,000 civilians have been either killed or injured by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Somalia in the past three years, the UN demining agency said on Wednesday.
The UN Mine-Action Service (UNMAS) said year 2017 was the deadliest, in large part due to an IED attack on Oct. 14 in Mogadishu which killed more than 500 people and injured over 300 in twin bombings.
"Children accounted for three-quarters of all casualties caused by unexploded ordnance last year," UNMAS said in a statement issued to mark the International Awareness Day which falls on April 4.
The demining agency said increasing awareness about explosive hazards can save many lives, adding that the threat of improvised explosive devices in Somalia remains an ever-present source of danger.
"The threat posed by explosive hazards is a grim fact of life for many Somalis, causing the tragic loss of lives and livelihoods and affecting the physical and emotional well-being of people in many parts of the country," UNMAS said.
UNMAS has been highlighting how mine action operations provide a tangible form of protection, reducing the explosive threats faced by affected communities in Somalia, as well as vulnerable populations such as internally displaced persons and refugees.
According to UNMAS data, over 70 communities in Somalia benefitted from the clearance of explosive remnants of war in over 450 locations in 2017 alone.
Similar work, it said, is being carried out currently in more than 40 districts nationwide to rid communities of explosive hazards.
Abshir Mahdi Isakh, an UNMAS specialist on unexploded ordinance has been educating Somali residents about the risks of explosive devices and carries out demining operations to help keep communities safe.
"Increasing awareness regarding threats of explosive remnants of war creates room for saving many lives. Nothing is more valuable than knowledge. Awareness is the best solution for this issue," he said.
Many years of armed conflicts in Somalia have left a lethal legacy of explosive devices, including landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) which, according to the UNMAS, affect marginalized communities in conflict-affected areas and along border regions.