UN says 37 million tonnes of debris in war-ravaged Gaza could take 14 years to clear

A senior official with the UN Mine Action Service told on Friday (April 26) that there are around 37 million tonnes of debris to clear away in the war-ravaged Gaza once the Israeli offensive is over and it could take over 14 years to get done.

Pehr Lodhammar of the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) said that it was impossible to clearly state how much of the ammunition fired in Gaza remained live. Lodhammar, who has run mine programmes in countries such as Iraq, further noted that unexploded ordnance buried in the rubble would increase the difficulty in the work of clearing the cities.

While speaking to journalists in Geneva during the launch of the 2023 annual report Friday, Lodhammar said, “We know that typically there is a failure rate of at least 10% of land service ammunition. What we do know is that we estimated 37 million tonnes of debris, which is approximately 300 kilos of debris per square metre.”

The Israel-Hamas war took place after the Paletine-based militant group launched a shock incursion into southern Israel in which they killed 1,200 people, according to Israeli tallies. It is believed that Hamas is still holding 129 hostages out of the 253 it took on October 7, 2023. In retaliation, Israel started the war against Hamas and began the military offensive.

So far in the war, at least 34,305 Palestinians have been killed and 77,293 wounded, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

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