Goto main content

Gaza: Saving lives with risk education

Explosive weapons
Palestine

The conflict that tore through Gaza in summer 2014 not only caused extensive material damage, it left nearly 10,000 unexploded devices behind, including rockets, missile warheads and bombs. Since March 2015, Handicap International’s teams have been raising the awareness of people living in the worst-affected neighbourhoods to prevent potentially deadly accidents. One such session, in Deir Al-Balah, led to the four unexploded devices being defused.

Handicap International's team conducts a risk education sesssion in Gaza

Handicap International's team conducts a risk education sesssion in Gaza | © Handicap International

It’s a normal day for Handicap International’s teams. Three of our facilitators are visiting neighbourhoods in Deir Al-Balah, in the centre of Gaza. As usual, they’re talking to a group of residents about explosive remnants of war, what they look like, why they are dangerous, and what to do if they come across one.

Half an hour into one of their risk education sessions, someone raises a hand. “I’ve got some at home,” says a man of around thirty.

“I thought it was safe and wasn’t a threat,” he says, adding, “I’d like to get rid of them, but I’m afraid of how the authorities are going to react.” 

The facilitators manage to convince him and he eventually alerts the authorities.

A few minutes later, the security forces arrive. In no time at all, they set up a 300-metre security cordon and defuse the explosive device, then place it in a police car.

Handicap International’s teams take advantage of the situation to raise the awareness of more local residents, who gathered when they saw the security forces arrive.

They tell them what their work is about, and explain what explosive remnants are. An older man tells the team: “I’ve got two bombs that are still in my field. Can you get rid of them for me?”

The weapons clearance team springs into action again and defuses three suspect devices. According to the weapons clearance experts, these devices were on the verge of exploding.

“In Gaza, people unfortunately tend to keep old explosive remnants at home,” explains Alaa Alkhatib, the head of Handicap International’s risk education project in Palestine. “They realise the hazards and decide to take action thanks to the risk education sessions.”

Since March 2015, over 30,000 Gazans have been made aware of the risk from explosive remnants of war by Handicap International’s teams.

Date published: 07/07/16

COUNTRIES

Where we work

Read more

Gaza: “The population is still in shock”
© Hardy Skills / HI
Emergency

Gaza: “The population is still in shock”

Gaza has been seriously impacted by the 11-day bombing last May during the conflict with Israel. Amal, Humanity & Inclusion (HI) staff in Gaza, shares her hopes and experiences for the humanitarian challenges to come.

More and more people are forcibly displaced from home
© K.Holt / HI
Explosive weapons Inclusion

More and more people are forcibly displaced from home

More than 80 million in the world are forcibly displaced, according to the last figures of the United Nations refugee agency

Russia and the United States: Main perpetrators of civilian harm caused by airstrikes
© HI
Explosive weapons

Russia and the United States: Main perpetrators of civilian harm caused by airstrikes

Russian President Putin and US President Biden met on Wednesday 16 June in Geneva. Humanity & Inclusion (HI) reminds that Russia and the US are among the main perpetrators of civilian harm caused by airstrikes.

FOLLOW US