Unsecured ammunition

Obsolete, surplus and unsafe arms and ammunition pose a significant risk to civilians after conflict or war as illicit armed groups continue to obtain most of their arms from legitimately-held, but badly managed stores and stocks.

An unsecured weapons store. Credit: Sean Sutton/MAG

Not only that, but a global report by Small Arms Survey identifies a direct link between the availability of weapons and the level of armed violence in a community or society.

Unplanned explosions at munitions sites (sometimes referred to as UEMS) have claimed hundreds of lives, and injured and displaced thousands of people across the globe in the past few years.

They can be caused by lightning, electrical faults, degrading and unstable munitions and poor management, and there remain numerous depots around the world where authorities store a range of state-held weapons and munitions in various conditions and

There have been more than 450 such explosions in 92 countries recorded since 1987, killing and maiming thousands of people.

Weapons stores: multimedia

An explosion at a munitions depot in the Republic of Congo capital, Brazzaville, in March 2012 left 280 dead. Below is a TV news report on the disaster.