Center for International Stabilization & Recovery

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Posts tagged "south lebanon"

NPA’s site supervisor, Hasan Joulani


Mahmoud Balhas is a 55 year old tobacco farmer from the village of Qana in South Lebanon. For more than two years, Mahmoud and his family have been using a land that turned out to be highly contaminated with cluster munitions.

When Mahmoud rented this land in 2008 to use for tobacco planting, he knew that it was contaminated with cluster munitions. Yet the need for income forced him to take the risk and, with a misconception that fire destroys all cluster bombs, he set the land on fire. As there were numerous cluster bombs on the surface, explosions started going off around him and he had to throw himself away to escape.

“The explosions were heard all over the village and people thought I was dead when they saw me lying on the ground”, said Mahmoud. “I escaped miraculously but I thought that the problem was solved. I was sure that the explosions destroyed all the cluster bombs in the land so we started using it”.

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Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) crossed an important milestone last week, clearing and returning back for safe use to local population 5 million square meters of land previously contaminated by cluster munitions and finding and destroying more than 4.600 cluster submunitions in the process.

NPA is currently contributing to clearance in Lebanon with five teams, one of which is all-female team, and the programme employs 89 committed and motivated staff, most of whom have been working with great safety and efficiency record with NPA since the beginning.
 
NPA started its clearance operations in Lebanon after the Israeli shelling of South Lebanon in the summer of 2006. Israel’s large-scale use of cluster munitions contributed greatly to the sense of humanitarian urgency that underpinned the Oslo Process through which the Convention on Cluster Muntions (CCM) was adopted and of which Lebanon is a State Party. It is estimated that up to four million cluster sub-munitions were dropped on Lebanon and that hundreds of thousands failed to explode on impact.

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