UNFICYP data indicate that there are 47 suspected hazardous areas in Cyprus that may be contaminated with mines and/or ERW (explosive remnants of war), amounting to approximately 1.7 million square meters of land.
According to the peacekeeping force, since August 2016, 199,783 square meters of land have been cleared of landmines in the north, making it safe for habitation and agriculture. Seven anti-tank mines were destroyed, and six mortars removed.
In the buffer zone, 121,891 square meters have been cleared to ensure the safety of Unficyp’s operations and for agricultural activities. The last mining clearance took place in 2017 in the area around Denia.
In April 2019, 18 areas, nine in the south and nine in the north, were identified as potentially dangerous, and marked for de-mining as part of confidence building measures agreed on by previous Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akıncı.
For all the remaining areas identified as potentially hazardous, a thorough investigation is required, to determine clearance procedures.
The UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), funded from the UN peacekeeping budget for UNFICYP, became an integral component of the peacekeeping force in July 2016, with the aim to provide specialist expertise in de-mining operations.
As part of its duties, UNFICYP also provides technical advice and training to the missing persons committee for safety in conducting excavations.
UNFICYP is carrying out an awareness campaign on the matter, also for its personnel, to enhance protection and facilitate operations in the potentially dangerous zones.
( Source CNA/Cyprus Mail)