Although the war has ended, Gazans continue to face new dangers every day.
For those who work in and tend farmlands, one such danger is the possibility of encountering unexploded ordinances (UXOs) in their fields.
Upon learning of ANERA’s work to clean northern Gaza’s farms of plastic waste, the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) approached us about training in unexploded ordinance (UXO) awareness – an opportunity we gladly accepted. Several of ANERA’s senior Gaza staff participated in the training-of-trainers session and, at the end of April 2009, those staff conducted a 90-minute training session at a Beit Lahia agricultural cooperative. Approximately 55 farmers and the laborers who participate in ANERA’s plastic waste clean-up project were in attendance.
The 90-minute training session provided an overview of UXO safety and awareness. Farmers and workers learned what UXOs are, their shapes and sizes, and the safety measures that should be adopted in dealing with suspicious ordinance. By the end of the session, ANERA’s staff checked that all participants noted the safety contact numbers to call in times of danger.
“The area where we are working is very close to the border,” said Nahed Waheidi, the ANERA staff member who led the training. “I learned in the MAG training sessions that between 10 and 30% of UXOs usually remain unexploded in wars due to technical malfunctions. Our role in ANERA is to ensure the safety of our workers and the farmers. These sessions are of critical importance and we will hold them on a regular basis. Many thanks to MAG for drawing our attention to such important information.”