The Danish Demining Group’s (DDG) provision of Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) Risk Education to Syrian refugees in Turkey reduces the risk of mines and ERW related accidents and facilitates safe return.
The extensive use of air and land delivered munitions, including cluster munitions and barrel bombs, has resulted in heavy contamination of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO), and land mines are widespread in the Syria-Turkey border areas.
Risk-taking behaviour such as self-clearance, re-use of UXOs and scrap-metal collection are leading to ERW related accidents. Furthermore, people are forced to move in potentially contaminated areas and in areas they are not familiar with. This high-threat environment poses a high risk to the security of the civilian population and blocks a safe return to areas of origin. Lastly, the contamination has a huge impact on humanitarian access to the affected areas.
Turkey has played a critical role in the Syrian crisis response and hosts the largest number of Syrian refugees in the region. Approximately 85% live in non-camp settings, the majority of which are in the provinces of Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Hatay and Kilis. A large number of international NGOs are operating from Turkey, providing humanitarian assistance to the affected populations in Northern Syria.
Since early 2013, DDG has provided ERW Risk Education to Syrian refugees and humanitarian organisations, in close cooperation with the Danish Refugee Council program, and is currently present in Hatay, Sanliurfa, and Kilis.
The Risk Education teams consist of Syrian facilitators who have been trained in ERW Risk Education by DDG’s technical experts. They conduct awareness sessions to children, youth and adults, using participatory tools and methods developed for the different target groups, with basic messages on how to stay safe when traveling or returning to a contaminated area.
The program is funded by UNHCR, ECHO and private funding (Association Roskilde Festival).