Lebanon presents a serious case of the devastating impact of mines/ERW (including unexploded sub-munitions). The Lebanon mine action problem can be divided into three phases. The first phase dates back prior to 1975, the year the civil war (1975-1990) began during which two Israeli Invasions (1978, 1982) occurred. The Lebanese territories were littered up with no less than 100,000 mines and an alarmingly large number of unexploded ordnances were implanted. The second phase began in 2000 when Israeli Enemy withdrew from South Lebanon after 12-year occupation leaving more than 550,000 anti-personnel and anti-tank mines in the South and Western Bekaa. In mid-2006, planning and optimism to achieve an impact free state came to an abrupt end in July 2006 when Israeli Enemy bombarded the South of Lebanon with more than 4 million cluster munitions, contaminating approximately 54.9 square kilometers of land and affecting over 1 million people (one third of the population). With Cluster sub-munition contamination, Lebanon entered the third phase in its history of mines/ERW (including unexploded sub-munitions). The estimated one million cluster munitions that did not detonate are causing thus an ongoing threat to civilians, denying access to agricultural land and remaining a constant reminder of war.
Scope of the problem
In Lebanon, the problem is particularly acute as the level of contamination is high with regards to its size and population density. Mines/ERW (including unexploded sub-munitions) substantially affect over one million people (one-third of the Lebanese population). Beyond the immediate dangers to life and limb, the mine problem is imposing a heavy economic burden to affected communities. It directly obstructs the socio-economic development of certain regions, water supplies, and power lines, impedes farming, reconstruction and development efforts thus reinforcing poverty and fear of movement in communities already amongst the poorest in the country.