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Humanitarian Disarmament in Albania

Humanitarian Disarmament in Albania

Albania declared that it had cleared all known mined areas in October 2009 and all known UXO in November 2009. However, Albania continues to face a threat from abandoned explosive ordnance ( AXO ) around former army ammunition storage sites. There were unplanned explosions at Ammunition Storage Areas ( ASAs ) during the 1997 civil unrest where 38 army Explosive Store Houses were destroyed due to the detonation of thousands of tonnes of ammunition. It is estimated that more than 590 people were injured and more than 100 killed in the aftermath of the unplanned explosions, or due to scrap metal collection at these sites.

MBT : state party; completed clearance.

CCM : state party; clearance deadline: 1 August 2020.

Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) was asked by the Albania Mines and Munitions Coordination Office (AMMCO) and International Trust Fund for Enhancing Human Security (ITF) to conduct hotspot clearance in 2014.Hot spot clearance generally means going into these areas where there were unplanned explosions and removing ammunition—some of it might be on the surface, and some of it might be buried from having landed at high speed in soft ground, or buried afterwards by shifting earth and leaves.  A systematic search methodology with the detector is employed, ensuring that nothing remains buried.The difference between hot spot clearance and regular clearance is that hot spots are done by using technical survey where the area is more well-known and identified as opposed to larger areas that need to be surveyed first through other methods such as non-technical survey  (NTS).

Fast facts

There are 19 hotspots spread throughout Albania. Not only do they endanger lives of the local population, they also hinder development of the areas.

In addition to the excess ammunition problem, the Ministry of Defense has estimated that, during the civil unrest in 1997, approximately 652,000 weapons of different calibres, 1.5 billion rounds of ammunition, 3.5 million hand grenades, 3,600 tonnes of explosive devices and one million mines were looted from military depots. Unofficial estimates are even higher.