While fighting in Ukraine is still raging, mine clearance and risk education are now being scaled up wherever possible to restore access to homes and livelihoods and protect civilians from risk caused by explosive remnants of war. DRC - Danish Refugee Council is selected to play a key role in nationwide Humanitarian Mine Action activities following a new agreement to support the State Emergency Service of Ukraine (SES).
DRC becomes the first international humanitarian organisation in Ukraine to establish a formal partnership with the State Emergency Services of Ukraine on Humanitarian Mine Action and Explosive Ordnance Disposal. The purpose of this agreement is to further extend and scale up existing DRC support to enable comprehensive and integrated activities aimed at clearing areas contaminated by explosive remnants of war and building risk awareness in the wake of the military offensive launched by the Russian Federation on February 24, 2022. The agreement with SES commits DRC to provide vital mine action equipment and technical support of SES with a particular focus on clearance of battlefields and disposal of explosive remnants of war.
"This new partnership agreement with the State Emergency Service in Ukraine will pave the way for speeding up actual clearance and disposal of explosives. It is critical right now to enable people to safely return home, and in parallel to create more awareness of the risks that may be hiding in residential areas, farmlands and other places where people used to move around", tells Brieuc Le Merle, DRC Country Director in Ukraine.
The new two-year DRC-SES agreement consolidates collaboration on humanitarian mine action that has taken place in Ukraine since 2014 with mine action activities primarily in eastern parts of the country. Following the recent developments in Ukraine since 24 February 2022, the massive contamination across the country that is growing by the day requires a significantly intensified response. The partnership is established as a new and solid foundation to ensure relevant resources and capacity to scale up explosive ordnance disposal and humanitarian demining in areas where hostilities have taken place.
DRC will provide technical educational and material organisational support to SES. This will entail special mine action equipment including off-road vehicles to transport personnel, equipment, as well as detection devices, tools and kits for disposal, and not least personal protective equipment, first aid kits and medical supplies.
"DRC is well-positioned in Ukraine and has decades of humanitarian mine action experience that allows us to engage in offer support in such large-scale responses as that required in Ukraine. It is essential to now also mobilise adequate support and funding from international donors to translate the aim of this new partnership into tangible action. For those displaced within and outside Ukraine, these new and intensified mine action interventions will be essential for people to return home – and to make sure that residential areas, schools, playgrounds, farmland and infrastructure are safe and cleared from explosives and other remnants of war", tells Gerry Garvey, Executive Director for DRC in Europe.
DRC is currently offering large-scale outreach campaigns in and around Ukraine to strengthen awareness of the risk from old and new types of explosives ordnance. After an initial set of reconnaissance missions, DRC has already identified 21 suspected hazardous areas littered with projectiles, rockets, mortars, anti-vehicle and anti-personnel mines, guided missiles, as well as booby-traps. Clearance across many of Ukraine’s 24 oblasts is now being planned with areas around Kyiv scheduled to begin in the coming weeks.
DRC is responding to the evolving humanitarian crisis ‒ providing protection and relief aid to people affected by displacement in Ukraine, neighbouring countries, the wider Europa and in Denmark. DRC has more than 250 staff in Ukraine with the vast majority being national staff supported by a small group of international advisors in the country. Learn more about DRC’s response to the Ukraine crisis on the DRC website.