Unplanned explosions at munitions sites (UEMS) are a significant safety concern for governments and a major security challenge for the international community. The Small Arms Survey has documented more than 500 such incidents in 100 countries over the 35-year period from 1979 to 2013.
Every year, several hundred individuals die or are injured as a result of unplanned explosions involving poorly maintained and badly managed ammunition stockpiles. While it is difficult to provide an accurate measure of the direct and indirect impacts of these explosive events on lives, livelihoods, housing, the environment, and development, the costs and consequences—in terms of health care, direct and indirect income loss, material damage, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), and environmental damage—are certainly severe.
Between January and October 2011 thirty-five unplanned explosions at munitions sites (UEMS) were recorded globally, bringing the number of such events since 1998 to a total of 302, across 76 UN member states.
More than 500 unplanned explosions at munitions sites (UEMS) have occurred between 1979 and 2013 in 100 countries, covering 19 of the 22 UN-designated sub-regions. South-east Europe has been particularly affected, with seven countries in this sub-region accounting for over 10 per cent of the total number of events recorded during this 35-year period.
This episode of the Small Arms Survey podcast series focuses on unplanned explosions at munitions sites (UEMS). Our speakers, Jovana Carapic, Remo Gassmann, and Benjamin King, discuss the problem at hand, the causes behind these explosions, as well as their consequences. The episode forms part of our Gender Lens for Arms Control Support and Sustainability (GLASS) project, funded by the Government of Canada.