173 civilians killed by land mines in Syria this year

173 civilians killed by land mines in Syria this year
More than 10 million people in Syria live in areas with explosive hazards. (File/AFP)
Updated 03 October 2019

173 civilians killed by land mines in Syria this year

173 civilians killed by land mines in Syria this year
  • More than 10 million people live in areas contaminated by explosive hazards
  • Estimates say 2 out of 3 survivors of explosive hazard incidents n Syria will sustain a life-long impairment

BEIRUT: At least 173 civilians, including 41 children, have been killed in Syria by land mines and explosive remnants of war since the start of the year, a monitor said Thursday.
Syria’s warring parties have all planted land mines in urban as well as rural areas since the conflict started in 2011.
Across the country, more than 10 million people live in areas contaminated by explosive hazards, the United Nations says.
“Since early 2019, 173 civilians, including 41 children, have been killed by land mines and explosive remnants of war,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Of the victims, at least 40 have been killed while digging for truffles, the Britain-based monitor said.
“Every day civilians are losing their lives or being maimed for life due to land mines and unexploded ordnances,” said the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
“It is estimated that 2 out of 3 survivors of an explosive hazard incident in Syria will sustain a life-long impairment,” it added on Twitter.
The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) says land mine contamination “hampers” attempts to clear rubble and cultivate agricultural land.
It also poses a threat to children and obstructs the return of displaced Syrians to their hometowns and villages, UNMAS told AFP in August.
In July 2018, UNMAS signed a memorandum of understanding with the government to establish a permanent representation in Damascus.
The war in Syria has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since erupting in 2011 with the repression of anti-government protests.


Egypt registers three new coronavirus vaccines within days

Egypt registers three new coronavirus vaccines within days
Updated 7 min 5 sec ago

Egypt registers three new coronavirus vaccines within days

Egypt registers three new coronavirus vaccines within days
  • Joint contract to manufacture vaccine in the country to be signed soon

CAIRO: The Egyptian Minister of Health, Hala Zayed, said Egypt has registered for three coronavirus vaccines — from the UK, Russia and Chinese respectively — after approving the use of each.

She added that the cold chain in Egypt allows for storage of 140 million vaccine doses.

“We have begun steps to register three Chinese, English and Russian companies, and within a few days, new shipments will be received and new vaccines will be registered,” Zayed said at a press conference.

She added that Egypt will sign a joint contract to manufacture the vaccines in Egypt soon with their partners.

The Russian Embassy in Egypt announced earlier that Moscow was ready to supply Egypt with the Sputnik V vaccine, and provide the technology needed for its manufacture to Cairo.

“Moscow is ready to provide the technology for manufacturing this vaccine in Egypt, which has a suitable production base,” Zayed she added.

She indicated that Egypt has 101 million citizens and 7 million residents, explaining that residents will also be vaccinated.

The minister confirmed that Egypt is the first African country to start its vaccination campaign, and also the first country to receive a vaccine on the continent.

Zayed indicated that Egypt seeks to vaccinate 20 percent of citizens with vaccines from the GAVI coalition. She also confirmed that the government would receive other batches of the vaccine within days, with elderly people over 65 years of age able to start registering to receive doses.

The registration will take place either in the nearest hospital or electronically.

She confirmed that all public hospitals in the country would provide the vaccine, starting from Monday.

“There are no financial challenges to obtaining vaccines, the Long Live Egypt (Tahya Misr) Fund will finance the purchase of vaccines,” she added.

Medical staff in all hospitals nationwide, and those unable to pay for the vaccine, will receive it free of charge.

She explained that the names of those who are unable to pay will appear on the vaccination system prepared by the Ministry of Health automatically once each citizen’s identification is entered, since the new system is linked to the Takaful and Karama program.

The vaccine will be offered for a cheap price, at a maximum of EGP 200 ($12.71) for the two doses.

She indicated that registering for the vaccine can be done in two ways, either through the website and uploading data proving that the person is eligible, or going to the nearest hospital affiliated with the Ministry of Health and registering.

“Everyone can apply to register to receive the vaccine through the website, and whoever is unable to access it can go to any hospital belonging to the Ministry of Health, and the workers there will register his name.”

The minister explained that the first groups that will receive the vaccine are medical staff and the elderly; those under 18 years and pregnant women will not be allowed to receive the vaccine.