2012 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <LSiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2012 09:53:46 -0800 (PST)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] MUNITIONS, GLOBAL: "Dangerous Depots"
Dangerous Depots: The Growing Humanitarian Problem Posed by Aging and Poorly Maintained Munitions Storage Sites

U.S. Department of State
January 23, 2012

On July 11, 2011, 98 shipping containers holding gunpowder at the Evangelos Florakis naval base on Cyprus exploded. The blast killed 13 people and injured 61 others. Additionally, the blast damaged the Vasiliko Power Plant, causing widespread rolling power outages. The containers had been sitting out in the open for more than two years, where they were subject to the hot Mediterranean climate. As this and other all-too-frequent incidents illustrate, the proper maintenance, storage, and safeguarding of conventional weapons and munitions is of vital importance. Failure to conduct proper physical security and stockpile management poses as significant a humanitarian challenge as the well-known threat of landmines and explosive remnants of war left uncleared from past conflicts.

Since the 1990s, there have been an increasing number of catastrophic explosions at arms storage facilities around the world. The frequency of such incidents has increased as urban populations have expanded outward from city centers to the vicinity of what were often previously isolated depots. The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Political- Military Affairs (PM/WRA) and the Department of Defense's Defense Threat Reduction Agency remain committed to helping to confront this problem.

Since 2001, the United States has partnered with more than 30 countries to promote safe disposal of surplus and aging weapons and munitions, including more than 1.5 million small arms and light weapons, more than 90,000 tons of munitions, and approximately 32,700 man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS). In addition, U.S. experts have provided assistance to improve stockpile management practices. On several occasions, PM/WRA has also deployed its Quick Reaction Force to help other countries mitigate risks from potentially dangerous depots, as well as to safely remove and dispose of unexploded ordnance (UXO) following incidents at these facilities.


For the entire release, see


Lenny Siegel
Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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