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The HALO Trust assessed the level and nature of explosive contamination in post-conflict urban environments, primarily in the Middle East,  and developed new clearance methods that will save lives and facilitate the safe return of refugees.


The intensity of the fighting in the Middle East since 2014 has left cities devastated, from Mosul to Aleppo to Da’raa. This has resulted in huge numbers of homes, schools, hospitals and infrastructure being contaminated with explosive hazards; landmines, booby traps, cluster munitions, and other unexploded ordnance. Reconstruction of post-conflict cities is severely limited until the extent of contamination can be assessed and cleared where required. Nor can displaced communities safely return. While the challenge presented by explosives contaminated urban environments has been widely acknowledged, there has been relatively little action to practically address the challenge.


The solution detailed the nature of the problem presented by contaminated urban environments and outlined either where current clearance procedures could address the challenges or where new solutions needed to be found. It also assessed where clearance solutions already existed in other industries and sectors.
The humanitarian demining sector already uses certain assessment methods and technical approaches to urban clearance, but they have not been designed with the exact nature of the current challenge in the Middle East in mind. This is, in part, due to the fact the exact nature and scale of contamination are currently unknown.


A final report identified where existing clearance techniques could be used or adapted to clear urban environments and what unique challenges were likely to be faced. This was supplemented with an analysis of existing capabilities and where they may fall short. This identified where new innovations needed to be made and where there might be opportunities to fill gaps with existing technologies or processes from outside the humanitarian demining sector.

Latest Updates

Rebuilding from the rubble: clearing explosive hazards in post-conflict environments

02 Oct 2018

The intensity of the fighting in the Middle East since 2014 has left cities, from Mosul to Aleppo to Da’raa, in ruins. Homes, schools, hospitals and vital infrastructure are littered with dangerous explosives including landmines, booby traps, cluster munitions and unexploded ordnance.


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