Andy Smith
MIne-action specialist

Searching for IEDs in Humanitarian Mine Action

Andy Smith, 2018

The increased use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in recent conflicts means that Humanitarian Demining organisations frequently face IED hazards. Some IED training for national organisations has been provided by the US Government in some countries but the problem is not mentioned in the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS), so there is no guidance on which a country can base a National Standard for IED clearance.

When I was asked to help advise over this and made informal approaches to the industry leaders, I was told that those engaged in Humanitarian Mine Action should not be asked to deal with IEDs, so no guidance was necessary. Regardless of what they think should be the case, national demining organisations are facing complex IED challenges so I found their answer inadequate.

I researched and published HMA SOPs for IED work on this website in 2016 and they have been widely downloaded, but I have never been entirely happy with them. The problem was that the term 'IED' was being used to cover everything from an improvised mortar bomb to an improvised device with five fuze systems each of which was designed to kill the deminer sent to disarm it.

The solution was to discrimate between types of IED and limit the demining procedures that should be used with the different types. This is fully detailed in Chapter 7 of the Global SOPs for HMA, IED Search & Clearance. The approach is abbreviated to HIED work - 'Humanitarian IED' work. If you have downloaded earlier versions, please take note of the major revisions that have been made in this version.

Click here to read the draft Global SOP covering IED search in HMA - and please comment.