DDG Battle Area Clearance and Mine Risk Education in Southern IraqOn the 4th December 2016, DDG’s Battle Area Clearance (BAC) team 1 were tasked by the Regional Mine Action Centre (RMAC) to a local house in Al Hawafidh village in the Shatt al Arab, Southern Iraq.
The owner of the house had found a suspicious item while digging in his garden. He informed our Mine Risk Education (MRE) team, who were located close by in the area. The MRE team identified the item as Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) and immediately contacted the RMAC. It was decided that DDG’s BAC team 1 were to be assigned to the task.
The house owner was understandably concerned as the suspicious item was found very close to the foundations of his house. The DDG team first conducted a visual search of the area followed by a full instrument search.
During the instrument search a further 106 mortar rounds were located next to the house. DDG removed all of the items, part of a stored ammunition cache that was a legacy of the Iran/Iraq war. The items were safely transported to the local Central Demolition Site (CDS) to be disposed of at a later date.
On the 27th December 2016 the DDG MRE team were busy conducting normal day to day activities, giving awareness classes to the population in villages to the north of Shatt Al Arab district.
They were showing school children from Seid Ali village some photographs of ERW when one of the children, a young boy, recognized something he had seen before. He explained that on the way to school each day, he and his friends had seen an object that looked very much like the picture they had just been shown. He then explained where this item was located and what it looked like. Taking immediate action to this new information the MRE team leader visited the area, which was located close to the school yard, and found a mortar lying by the side of the main road. He first marked the item, and then reported it to DDG operations staff. The DDG operations immediately responded to the item and it was removed for future disposal. DDG conducted a search of the immediate area but found no other items of ERW.
These are just two typical everyday examples of how DDG teams can (and do) have an immediate impact on the local community within the Shatt-Al-Arab district.