Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) records incidents of explosive violence as they occur around the world. Since 1 October 2010 AOAV has used English-language media sources to capture information on attacks, including on the number of casualties and the weapon type used.
January saw more than 3,000 reported casualties of explosive violence, 71% of whom were civilians (2,197). A surge of shelling in Ukraine is our focus story this month.
In a new section, produced by Insecurity Insight, each monthly update from AOAV will also shine a spotlight on the impact of explosive weapons on humanitarians and aid work. AOAV recorded three separate attacks on humanitarian infrastructure and hospitals in January.
Read the full report here:
Top Story: Ukraine- Ceasefire amid a surge of shelling
AOAV recorded a total of 464 deaths and injuries from explosive weapon use in January 2014, 77% of whom were civilians. Reporting issues on the ground means that this likely only scratches the surface of what has been an appalling month of explosive violence in eastern Ukraine.
- At least 131 civilians were reported killed by explosive violence;
- 75% of civilian casualties were from ground-launched explosive weapons like artillery, mortars and rockets (25% were from aerial bombs)
- Grad rockets killed 42 civilians in three separate incidents.
- When explosive weapons were used in populated areas in Ukraine, 88% of casualties were civilians. This compared to 29% in other areas.
Read AOAV’s report on the Mariupol attack: “Will Mariupol be a turning point in Ukraine’s explosive crisis?”
On 20 January 2015 a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Sudan was bombed by the Sudanese Air Force (SAF). One MSF staff member and one patient were injured.
While little physical damage was done to the hospital, the aid agency suspended operations to avoid putting staff and patients at risk. Approximately 150 patients and staff were in the hospital when 13 bombs were dropped by a SAF fighter jet. MSF believes that it was “a deliberate and targeted bombing on a civilian hospital structure and part of a strategy to terrorize the community.”
For the last four years, the SAF has been bombing civilians in the Nuba Mountains as part of the military campaign against rebels. Humanitarian agencies are restricted from accessing most of these areas, and health facilities were in short supply even before the 20 January attack. With the closure of the MSF hospital, civilians now have even less access to services to help with both violence and non-violence related healthcare.
The bombing additionally illustrates how fear of explosive weapon use often leads to the reduced presence of outsiders, meaning that the plight of civilians in South Kordofan will not be communicated to the wider world. The impact of explosive weapons can be devastating. Not only do they kill and maim, but they result in reduced access to healthcare, humanitarian aid, and make the lives of those already in a perilous situation even worse.
For the latest analysis and research of developments in explosive violence go to:
Did you find this story interesting? Please support AOAV's work and donate.