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18.9.2021 : 10:41 : +0200

Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites

* Updated March 2020

Unplanned explosions at munitions sites (UEMS) are a global problem. The Small Arms Survey defines UEMS as the accidental explosion of stockpiles of ammunition and explosives at storage sites, whether the stockpiles are properly stored or are abandoned, damaged, or improperly stored.

A single UEMS incident often results in dozens of casualties and millions of dollars in damages to nearby buildings, infrastructure, and homes. Research conducted by the Survey reveals that these incidents are widespread and increasingly common: the Survey recorded more than 623 incidents in at least 106 countries and territories between 1979 and December 2019.

Navigate our visualization tool below for more information about this issue and read our most recent materials:

The Small Arms Survey continues to maintain its UEMS database on an ongoing basis. To receive the full database of UEMS incidents in Excel format, please write to:


For more information on UEMS and the UEMS project, please see the following links:

The visualization tool offers two interactive maps, two additional representations of the data, and an interactive data explorer that allows you to create custom visualizations (click on the black flashes to switch between the five visualizations). You can move the map by dragging it with your mouse, and zoom in or out by holding your CTRL key and scrolling up or down. The shading of the countries represents the number of casualties in the respective country and the red dots represent individual UEMS incidents. Hovering over a country with your mouse will give you country-level information, while clicking on the red dots will provide you with more information on each individual incident.


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