GENEVA / UNMAS AFGHANISTAN

06-Feb-2019 00:02:47
The UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) said the number of casualties in Afghanistan from landmines and other explosives has more than tripled since 2012 and called for more long-term support for survivors. UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA / UNMAS AFGHANISTAN
TRT: 2:47
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 06 FEBRUARY 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
FILE - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Wide shot, Palais des Nations exterior

06 FEBRUARY 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Pan left, speakers arriving
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Patrick Fruchet, Programme Manager in Afghanistan, United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS):
“We are still in the prevention business and we aren’t doing all that well. Just to give you some statistics, in 2012, we were down to about 36 casualties per month in Afghanistan - which is still enormous; those numbers jumped, those numbers jumped year on year. And in 2017, there were more than 150 casualties a month.”
4. Wide shot, journalists, speakers
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Patrick Fruchet, Programme Manager in Afghanistan, United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS):
“We are struggling to handle significant increases in the number of minefields in Afghanistan.”
6. Med shot, journalists
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Giles Duley, CEO and Founder, Legacy of War Foundation:
“He’d never been able to work because of a lack of training to use his prosthetic legs. At his house - or his sister’s house where he stayed - we sat there, we drank some tea and we chatted. And eventually, he showed me the side of this house some beds where the dogs slept. And he pointed to one of the large dog baskets and he said, ‘That is my bed.’ Now his sister was a wonderful woman, she was doing what she could, but she lived in poverty, she had her own family, and so her brother was literally living like a dog.”
8. Close up, wheelchair, journalists
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Giles Duley, CEO and Founder, Legacy of War Foundation:
“And really that is what we are calling for. It’s the opportunities for people injured in conflict through no choice of their own, often children who have a full life ahead, are given support to regain their dignity and to be able to support themselves and their families again. It’s not that complicated, it’s not that difficult. We spend millions saving lives, we have to help them get their lives back.”
10. Close up, speaker, UN logo
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Shehan Hettiaratchy, Trust trauma lead and lead surgeon; consultant plastic, hand and reconstructive surgeon, Imperial College Healthcare, London:
“What we’re trying to do is characterise, what is that healthcare burden once the fighting stops, how long does it go on for? What is it at year one? What’s the healthcare intervention needed to maintain these people whose lives have been saved at high levels of function, so they can contribute back to the society? Because if we don’t have that socio-economic rehabilitation of the victims of war, the country will fail.”
12. Med shot, journalists
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Mahpekay Sediqi, Physical Rehabilitation Therapist, Kabul Orthopedic Organisation, Afghanistan:
“As of now, the donors don’t have a real picture of the needs in Afghanistan, as we said before, the speakers mentioned 2.7 percent of the population of Afghanistan have disability, but this number is from 2015.”
14. Med shot, journalist
15. Wide shot, press room, journalists, speakers
16. Wide shot, speakers
17. Close up, journalist
STORYLINE
The UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) today (06 Feb) said the number of casualties in Afghanistan from landmines and other explosives has more than tripled since 2012 and called for more long-term support for survivors.

The latest data from UNMAS showed that 1,415 Afghan civilians were killed or injured by mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) in 2018.

Children make up eight out of every 10 ERW casualties, according to UNMAS, which is attending the 22nd Meeting of Mine Action National Directors and United Nations Advisers (NDM-UN) at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from 5 to 8 February.

The UN agency notes that since 1989, more than 18 million ERW items have been cleared, along with more than 730,000 anti-personnel mines including over 750 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and 30,145 anti-tank mines.

UNMAS Programme Manager in Afghanistan Patrick Fruchet said, “We are still in the prevention business and we aren’t doing all that well. Just to give you some statistics, in 2012, we were down to about 36 casualties per month in Afghanistan - which is still enormous; those numbers jumped, those numbers jumped year on year. And in 2017, there were more than 150 casualties a month.”

This spike in casualty numbers is linked to new contamination by anti-personnel weapons in the country, linked to intensifying conflict between Government forces and the Taliban after 2014, Fruchet explained.

“We are struggling to handle significant increases in the number of minefields in Afghanistan,” he added, noting that the work of the UN agency and its partners was complicated by the fact that the authorities were only in control of part of the national territory.

UNMAS said increased funding is critical to Afghanistan’s bid to be landmine-free by 2023 noting that the Government’s 85.1 million USD appeal for clearance activities is only around 50 percent fulfilled.

In an appeal for increased international support and awareness, landmine blast survivor and photographer Giles Duley described how important long-term care was to his recovery after he lost both legs and a forearm to a landmine in Afghanistan, and how damaging its absence had been for a fellow survivor in Cambodia, who was “living like a dog.”

SOUNDBITE (English) Giles Duley, CEO and Founder, Legacy of War Foundation:
“He’d never been able to work because of a lack of training to use his prosthetic legs. At his house - or his sister’s house where he stayed - we sat there, we drank some tea and we chatted. And eventually, he showed me the side of this house some beds where the dogs slept. And he pointed to one of the large dog baskets and he said, ‘That is my bed.’ Now his sister was a wonderful woman, she was doing what she could, but she lived in poverty, she had her own family, and so her brother was literally living like a dog.”

Duley stressed that despite the vast amounts of money spent helping victims in the immediate aftermath of an attack, a huge gap is left in relation to their longer-term needs.

SOUNDBITE (English) Giles Duley, CEO and Founder, Legacy of War Foundation:
“And really that is what we are calling for. It’s the opportunities for people injured in conflict through no choice of their own, often children who have a full life ahead, are given support to regain their dignity and to be able to support themselves and their families again. It’s not that complicated, it’s not that difficult. We spend millions saving lives, we have to help them get their lives back.”

Trauma surgeon Shehan Hettiaratchy, from Imperial College Healthcare in London, underlined the wider benefits of accurately assessing survivors’ needs, both for individuals and their communities.
SOUNDBITE (English) Shehan Hettiaratchy, Trust trauma lead and lead surgeon; consultant plastic, hand and reconstructive surgeon, Imperial College Healthcare, London:
“What we’re trying to do is characterise, what is that healthcare burden once the fighting stops, how long does it go on for? What is it at year one? What’s the healthcare intervention needed to maintain these people whose lives have been saved at high levels of function, so they can contribute back to the society? Because if we don’t have that socio-economic rehabilitation of the victims of war, the country will fail.”

In Afghanistan, landmine survivors make up a small fraction of the nearly three percent of the population that is registered as having a disability, according to UNMAS.

Blast victim Dr Mahpekay Sediqi, who works at Kabul Orthopedic Organisation in Afghanistan, echoed the importance of having the latest data to hand: “As of now, the donors don’t have a real picture of the needs in Afghanistan,” she said. “As we said before, the speakers mentioned 2.7 per cent of the population of Afghanistan have disability, but this number is from 2015.”

In the nearly 30 years since UNMAS has been working in Afghanistan, 30,000 people have been either hurt or killed by explosive devices.
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