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Conflict in urban and peri-urban areas necessarily results in contamination of buildings and other human-made structures from explosive ordnance (EO) of all types. The challenges of working inside structures in conflict-affected areas that are intact or damaged, require a different operational framework and distinct methodologies from those for clearance of open areas. In both cases, all EO should be removed and destroyed. However, the restricted three dimensional context of buildings adds a level of difficulty to any mine action operational response.
The term “building” in this standard is used to refer to a wide range of structures from domestic homes, or commercial facilities, to those used in the provision of critical services such as power, water, sewage, health and education. As a result, a wide range of procedures may be required to address different types of structures and the wide variety of EO found in those structures. These procedures may vary from surface search for Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) to more intense search procedures and clearance requirements where conditions are restrictive and IEDs are present, for example. This difficulty must be addressed through sound Threat Assessments being carried out, based on evidence. In addition, secondary hazards such as unstable structures and significant levels of debris, that are regularly present in the context of clearing buildings, often raise the complexity level of building clearance operations. These standards outline a framework to mitigate the risks to clearance personnel.
Due to the high variability in terms of clearance procedures required for dealing with buildings, both reporting and quality management can be more challenging. Reporting is of a greater complexity due to the fact that interventions take place in three dimensional space, and involve many more elements to record. Similarly, in the case of quality management, the wide variation in terms of procedures conducted makes monitoring and verification difficult. Therefore, when addressing buildings, sound quality management relies heavily on a robust application of the core principles (see IMAS 07.12).
Given the ever-more common occurrence of conflict in urban areas, the ability to standardise the implementation of the various core elements of Building Clearance outlined in this standard is essential. Despite the complexities involved, adopting the following well-fined set of principles is fundamental to enhancing the safety and efficiency of mine action operations in urban and other environments where buildings have been contaminated by EO.
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