The use of explosives that lie dormant, particularly in populated areas, is “a persistent and growing threat to children and their families”, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday, expressing deep sadness over the death of eight students in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan.
The explosive remnant of war that detonated near a school on Monday also left four other children injured who had been attending class. All twelve were boys.
UNICEF’s acting representative in the country, Alice Akunga, described the incident as underlining the importance of the international community providing more support for Afghanistan, so authorities can “clear explosive ordnance and remnants of war”.
“Equally important is to educate children and their communities about the risks and the preventive measures to take”, she added.
UNICEF expressed its deepest sympathies to the families of the victims and those injured.
In 2020, globally, explosive ordnance, including remnants of war, were responsible for nearly 50 per cent of all child casualties, resulting in more than 3,900 children killed and maimed, according to UNICEF.
“Schools – and their surrounding areas – must be safe spaces for all children to learn and thrive”, reminded Ms. Akunga.
“UNICEF urges all concerned parties in Afghanistan to take concrete measures to clear areas contaminated by weapons, protect children and keep them out of harm’s way at all times”.