Clearing Iraq’s land mines, and saving Iraqi lives

Communities across Iraq face an estimated 10 million–15 million land mines and unexploded ordnance — some of it buried since the 1940s.

Today, an array of international and local Iraqi partners work tirelessly with U.S. government support to address this threat — and they are making headway.

Eight U.S.-funded partnership initiatives are now at work, removing and destroying land mines and other explosives, and educating citizens about their dangers. Over the past year, they have:

Man kneeling to greet a sitting dog, who is putting his paw on man's arm (Mines Advisory Group)
An Iraqi demining expert with his bomb-detecting dog (Mines Advisory Group)
  • Cleared land mines and other explosives from more than 65 million square meters of land, helping to revitalize economic and agricultural development.
  • Destroyed nearly 62,000 pieces of dangerous munitions.
  • Provided risk education to more than 38,000 Iraqi men, women and children, saving lives and preventing injuries by teaching them how to identify and avoid explosives left behind.

Since 2003, the United States has provided more than $280 million in Iraq toward the clearance and disposal of land mines, unexploded ordnance and excess conventional weapons.

U.S. efforts to protect civilians from such threats have been under way for decades and account for more than $2.5 billion in contributions to 90 countries around the world since 1993.

A version of this article was previously published on March 24, 2016.