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Gaza Enters ‘Most Dangerous’ Phase Amidst Threat of Unexploded Weapons, Warns UN Expert

Gaza faces a perilous phase as the risk of unexploded ordnance looms large, cautioned Mungo Birch, Chief of the UN Mine Action Programme in the State of Palestine. With the imminent return of residents to the north, unfamiliarity with the location of these deadly remnants poses a grave threat.

Regional Concerns

Jean-Pierre Lacroix, head of UN peacekeeping, highlighted the urgency of a humanitarian ceasefire and increased assistance for Gaza. The escalating exchanges of fire along the Israeli-Lebanon border raise fears of broader regional ramifications.

Reconstruction Challenges

The aftermath of conflict leaves Gaza grappling with an estimated 37 million tonnes of rubble, including hazardous materials like asbestos. Mr. Birch emphasized the necessity of rubble recycling for future reconstruction efforts, despite daunting funding gaps.

Global Impact

The repercussions of conflicts extend far beyond their immediate theaters. The Ukraine conflict, for instance, not only ravages its landscape but also disrupts global food and fuel markets, as emphasized by veteran landmine clearance specialist Paul Heslop.

Emerging Threats

Sudan faces its own challenges, with ongoing conflict exacerbating the risk of unexploded ordnance in populated areas. Mohammad Sediq Rashid, Chief of UN Mine Action Programme in Sudan, stressed the urgency of addressing these dangers to prevent further civilian casualties.

As conflicts persist and new threats emerge, the imperative to address the scourge of unexploded weapons remains paramount. International cooperation and concerted efforts are crucial to mitigating the humanitarian toll and facilitating post-conflict recovery.

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