WASHINGTON (AP) _ A land mine survey in Iraq has led to the destruction of hundreds of thousands of explosives left behind from past conflicts, the State Department said Monday.
The survey, conducted in 13 of the country's 18 provinces, provides a map for the Iraqi government and others to clear land mines, unexploded ordnance and abandoned munitions, which threaten one of every five Iraqis, according to the department. Nearly 140,000 pieces of unexploded ordnance and 13,000 land mines have been destroyed so far.
The first phase of the three-year, $4 million survey is complete, according to a statement by the department. The State Department's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, which is funding the project, will support survey work in the remaining five provinces once they are secure.
The survey was conducted by Iraqi men and women on foot, car, tractor and donkey. It provides the first census-quality data for Iraq since 1997, mapping towns and villages that were not on records or whose existence was not known.
The project is part of a $110 million State Department effort in Iraq since fiscal year 2003 to, among other things, clear explosives and create the National Mine Action Authority, which determined how the survey was conducted.