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Germany provides additional $2.2M for mine clearance in Iraq

Germany is the latest country to donate additional funds for mine clearance efforts in Iraq with a USD 2.2 million contribution.

The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) confirmed the donation in an official statement on Wednesday, noting that the war against the so-called Islamic State in Iraq “has resulted in complex and extensive explosive hazard contamination.”

UNMAS added that the security risks of dormant mines have prevented the 5.8 million displaced persons, who fled the Islamic State’s threat in 2014, from returning to their areas of origin.

“The continued threat of destabilization is significantly heightened through the presence of explosive hazards, particularly in residential and rural communities,” the statement read.

In the statement, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas described UNMAS’ work as “a crucial contribution” to enable displaced persons to return home.

Germany’s contribution follows a French donation of 600,000 Euros toward mine removal in Iraq.

Read More: France contributes additional 600K Euros for mine removal in Iraq

Large swaths of territory the Islamic State once held in Iraq still contain explosive ordnances.

Iraq declared victory over the terrorist organization in late 2017 but still faces challenges in clearing areas seized by the group from mines and explosives. It has also created issues for displaced Iraqis who cannot return home in compromised areas due to the lack of security.

Related Article: UN says over 70 percent of mines still under rubble in Iraq post-ISIS

According to statistics from Iraq’s Ministry of Immigration, only about three million people out of over five million have returned to their homes with the rest remaining in camps in the Kurdistan Region.

Unexploded weaponry is the most significant challenge Iraqi authorities face regarding the return of displaced people to their areas, especially in the provinces of Nineveh and Kirkuk.