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20.4.2021 : 8:34 : +0200

UEMS - Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites, 1979 - 2014

Updates to the UEMS database

Unplanned explosions at munitions sites (UEMS) are a global problem, and the Small Arms Survey records and analyses such incidents as a way to better understand their causes and help avoid risks.

The UEMS database, which includes an interactive map and detailed listings allowing users to filter incidents by country or by year, has been updated to include the period up until December 2014. Previous events have also been added or edited to incorporate new information that has come to light.

Between 1979 and 2014, the Survey recorded
520 UEMS incidents in 103 countries and territories, affecting more than half of UN member states, and covering every continent except Antarctica.

The frequency of UEMS incidents has risen dramatically over the course of the last 36 years. During the 1980s the Survey recorded an average of over four incidents events per year. Since then, the average yearly count has risen dramatically. Since 2000, the yearly average has increased to more than 24. Certainly some of this rise in frequency is explained by an increase in global reporting and media coverage. However, ageing ammunition and poor ammunition management practices, despite national and international efforts to address these problems, have contributed to this increase.


The UEMS Handbook and Incident Recording Template

The Handbook Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS): Excess Stockpiles as Liabilities rather than Assets contains analysis of the data recorded on the UEMS online resource, and includes many helpful tables, figures, maps, and annexes. It serves to:

  • support best practice by explaining the scale and scope of the challenge that policy-makers face;
  • encourage states to manage their stockpiles effectively;
  • help generate better data capturing and record keeping; and
  • provide a reference tool and a training tool.


The UEMS Incident Reporting Template (IRT) form promotes accurate record keeping and the sharing of systematized data.


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