Action on Armed Violence has produced an anti-suicide bomb video to accompany its new research on the disturbing long-term impacts of improvised explosive weapons in Pakistan.
As the headlines are dominated by the deaths of at least 118 people in Jos, in Central Nigeria, a UK charity has launched the first of its kind anti-suicide bomb video. This video, launched today in another centre of explosive weapons violence – Islamabad – adopts the look and feel of one of the many suicide bomber videos that are released following major attacks. But rather than focusing on the message of the bomber, this video highlights the – often unreported – pain and suffering of the victims.
The video shows the testimonies of men and women whose lives were devastated by one of Pakistan’s most notorious attacks, the 2009 Moon Market bombings in Lahore.
The full version of the film is available here.
Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) used the launch of the video to highlight its new report, Anatomy of a Suicide Bombing. This research looks in detail at what followed the double blasts in December 2009. At least 60 people were killed in that bombing and over a hundred more were wounded in one of Lahore’s busiest markets. Four years later, AOAV spoke to survivors and their families, as well as hospital workers, local traders, police and government officials to understand how the attack impacted people physically, psychologically and financially.
- Only 6% of victims interviewed received psychological support following the blast.
- The average amount of time victims spent in hospital for initial treatment following the attack was 25 days.
- Hospitals in Lahore were instructed to offer free treatment to blast victims. But they were not provided with government top-up funds for additional costs. This caused cuts in the funding of other medical services, such as outpatient units.
- About half (44%) of victims had to return to hospital multiple times for follow on treatment.
- 74% of people AOAV spoke to, who were injured or lost family members, believed they were worse off financially due to the attack.
- Four years after the bombing, Moon Market traders reported up to a 50% drop in earnings. The total estimated damage to the market came to RS500 million (£3 million). RS80 million (£480,000) was given out in governmental compensation.
- Nobody has been convicted for any involvement in the Moon Market bombings.
This video and report comes as AOAV’s annual monitoring of explosive weapons places Pakistan, for the second year running, as the third most impacted country in the world for casualties of explosive weapons, after Iraq and Syria. In 2013, almost 75% of the global total number of victims from explosive weapons were from IED attacks.
“The Moon Market bombings are just one example of the hundreds of such attacks seen in Pakistan over the last decade. To think that these impacts are being repeated on a near daily basis is horrifying. Much can be done to tackle the harm of suicide bombings, but first we need to actually recognise how survivors struggle after the event and what challenges they face – this video and report seeks to do just this,” said AOAV’s Director of Policy, Iain Overton.
“The reporting on attacks like the Moon Market bombing often ends with the event – the numbers killed are noted and then the media moves on. But the story does not end there for thousands of lives and we hope this video will bring attention to that fact,” said AOAV’s Senior Researcher Henry Dodd. ‘The humanitarian costs of these bombings must be better understood and the support offered to victims greatly improved so that it actually meets their needs.”
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