Following the devastating series of explosions at a Brazzaville munitions depot, communities remain at grave risk from unstable projectiles scattered across the Republic of Congo's capital.
Not only do these dangerous items have the potential to maim and kill, but they are also preventing the return home of evacuees, many of whom are living in makeshift camps.
MAG continues to help the people of Brazzaville rebuild their lives in the following ways:
During June 2012, MAG Republic of Congo’s Community Liaison teams:
• Gave 195 Safety Briefings1
• Conducted 596 Risk Education sessions2
• Distributed 3,818 safety leaflets and 674 posters
In addition, our Community Liaison teams held three workshops, where 36 local authority staff were trained in how to deliver Risk Education (RE) and report hazards. These people now act as focal points for reporting and RE in their communities, ensuring these vital messages are given a wider reach.
Twenty-nine people from the Muslim Council were trained in how to spread safe behaviour messages during preaching, social work and Friday prayer sessions in local mosques.
Explosive Ordnance Disposal
Working in the epicentre of the blast zone during June, MAG Republic of Congo’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams:
• Removed 197,628 dangerous items
• Cleared 107,044m² of contaminated land
• Responded to seven spot tasks in residential areas
• Destroyed 320,108 items of ammunition (weighing 26,332 kg) in eight demolitions
MAG is actively seeking funds to expand these essential and lifesaving operations in the Republic of Congo, in order to both support reconstruction in Brazzaville and also reduce the likelihood of future disasters, through Physical Security and Stockpile Management initiatives at the country's remaining munitions sites.
1 Safety briefings: These are short sessions, usually last around 10 minutes, where people are briefed on what to do to stay safe and how to report a suspicious item they may come across.
2 Risk Education: These are more formal sessions, lasting half an hour or more, where people are informed in detail of the events of 4 March 2012, the dangers and impact of munitions, how to recognise and report a dangerous item, and how to stay safe.
In both cases, those attending receive Risk Education leaflets, while MAG puts RE posters in public areas.
For more information on MAG's work in the Republic of Congo and around the world, please go to www.maginternational.org.
MAG is working alongside the United Nations Mine Action Service and the Congolese Armed Forces in Brazzaville.
Thanks to the following donors for their vital support in assisting MAG's emergency response:
• British Embassy in Kinshasa
• ECHO (European Commission - Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection)
• European Union Delegation in Republic of Congo
• Federal Republic of Germany
• UNMAS (United Nations Mine Action Service)