Gaza Contains More War Debris than Ukraine: UN

Wed May 01 2024
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GENEVA: The Gaza Strip is filled with more war debris and rubble than Ukraine, the head of the United Nations demining operations for the besieged Palestinian territory said on Wednesday.

Mungo Birch, overseeing the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in the area, disclosed that as of mid-April, Gaza’s debris accumulation stood at a staggering 37 million tonnes, equating to 300 kilograms per square meter. In a striking comparison, Birch emphasized that Gaza’s 25-mile stretch eclipses the volume of rubble found along Ukraine’s 600-mile frontline.

However, the challenge extends beyond sheer volume, with the rubble likely contaminated with unexploded ordnance (UXO) and compounded by additional hazards. Birch cautioned that over 800,000 tonnes of asbestos, a carcinogenic material commonly used in construction, further complicate clearance efforts, necessitating specialized handling precautions.

UNMAS, working to mitigate explosive ordnance threats, aspires to lead coordination efforts for mine action in Gaza. While securing $5 million in funding, an additional $40 million is urgently required to sustain operations over the next year. Birch stressed that the broader sector demands hundreds of millions of dollars across multiple years to ensure Gaza’s safety for its inhabitants.

Meanwhile, Israel has continued relentless bombardment campaign in Gaza. Since October 7, Israel’s relentless bombardment campaign has killed at least 34,568 Palestinians, mostly women and children, according to the territory’s health ministry.

 

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