Kuwait calls for limiting hazards of remnants of war

GENEVA, 12th November, 2015 (WAM) — Kuwait has stressed the importance of limiting the hazards of war remnants, including unexploded ordnances, Kuwait’s Permanent Representative at the UN and International Organisations Ambassador, Jamal Al-Ghunaim, has said.

The official’s remarks were made during the ninth meeting of the UN’s Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War (Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons) held in Geneva on Thursday.

Explosives left by war pose great dangers to the ecological system around them, Al-Ghunaim was quoted by the Kuwaiti News Agency, KUNA, as calling on all countries to thoroughly study the effects on the environment to limit the hazards.

Kuwait, which joined the convention on 24th May, 2013, started removing the remnants of the Iraqi invasion immediately after the war’s end in 1991, said the ambassador, adding that land mines were planted along Kuwait’s coast and around its economic bodies and oil facilities.

He noted that the country had faced many challenges in removing these explosives, including the high temperatures in summer that caused many mines to self-explode, the nature of the dessert environment that led the explosives to sink deeper into the sands, and the lack of thorough maps of the affected areas.

He also added that the clean-up process cost Kuwait between US$ 31,000 to 67,000 per one square kilometre.

Al-Ghunaim went on to warn about the dangers these left-over explosives pose to the lives and wellbeing of people, as mines had killed or dismembered civilians, including children.

Kuwait is providing special care to survivors of unexploded ordnance, including free medical services and physiotherapy, financial aid, social and residency services, education, transportation and specialised workshops for prosthesis, said the ambassador.