The bombing of civilians in urban areas is commonplace in present-day conflicts. Bombing not only kills and maims civilians, it destroys entire neighborhoods. The bombing of homes has a terrible impact on civilians including forced displacement, extreme hardship for families, and the contamination of affected areas.
Indiscriminate bombing destroys homes, schools, shops, playgrounds, hospitals, and factories. In the Iraqi city of Mosul, the target of intensive bombing between October 2016 and July 2017, of the buildings that were affected, 80% were residential. During that time, bombings damaged or destroyed more than 8,500 homes.
Survivors have little choice but to flee the destruction of the social and economic fabric of their neighborhoods – most of which were completely destitute. All essential infrastructure and semblance of normal life are destroyed. And escaping poses even more risk. In Syria, citizens are displaced up to 25 times before finding a safe refuge. Repeated displacement causes serious psychological distress and worsens extreme poverty.
After a bomb attack, homes often contain bombs that have not exploded on impact and are still active and dangerous, or bomb fragments that still contain explosive materials, known as explosive remnants. It is the job of weapons clearance experts, like Handicap International deminers, to ensure people return in safety.
Impatient to return home, people often clear rubble themselves, making them especially vulnerable to explosive remnants. It’s essential that our teams make these individuals aware of the dangers. HI runs risk education programs in 13 countries to teach people how to spot, avoid, and report when they come across a suspicious object. We also implement weapon clearance operations in five countries, including Iraq and Colombia.
Handicap International against the bombing of civilians
Handicap International is leading campaign to denounce and seek a ban on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, which is tragically commonplace in present-day conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Ukraine, and other countries where 92% of casualties of this barbaric practice are civilians.
Explosive weapons used in populated areas kill and cause suffering and serious injuries, such as burns, open wounds, and fractures. They cause disabilities and psychological trauma. This practice results in forced population displacement, and the destruction of vital infrastructure such as homes, schools, and hospitals.
During an attack, a percentage of these weapons do not explode on impact, posing a permanent threat to civilians long after fighting has ended. The presence of explosive remnants of war makes it dangerous for people to return to their homes once an attack is over or the conflict has ended.
Support our Stop Bombing Civilians campaign
Demand justice right now for families who have seen their neighborhoods turned into war zones.
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