ExplosivesThe Civilian Toll of Explosives, 2011-2020

Published 25 May 2021

A new repot finds that, over the last ten years, when explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 91% of those killed and injured were civilians. This compares to 25% in other areas. Incidents of explosives being used were recorded in 123 countries and territories around the world in the ten years.

In a new report, just published by Action on Armed Violencepresents the findings from 10-years’ worth of its data (2011 – 2020) collected as part of AOAV’s Explosive Violence Monitoring Project (EVMP). For the last decade, the EVMP has tracked the impact of explosive weapon use worldwide as reported in global English- language media.

Since the monitor began, AOAV has recorded the suffering caused across the globe by both manufactured and improvised weapons. AOVA says it calls on states and other users to commit politically to stop using explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas. The harm recorded over the last ten years and reflected in this report illustrates the stark urgency needed for a political declaration detailing such a commitment.


·  When explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 91% of those killed and injured were civilians. This compares to 25% in other areas.

·  In total, 238,892 civilians were killed and injured in populated areas over a decade.

·  AOAV recorded 357,370 deaths and injuries by explosive weapons in 28,879 incidents in the last ten years. Of these, 262,413 were civilians – 73%.

·  In total, 155,118 people were killed (of which 92,588 were civilians), and 202,252 were injured (of which 169,825 were civilians) by explosive weapons globally.

·  Civilian deaths and injuries in populated areas represented 91% of all reported civilian deaths and injuries.

·  Manufactured explosive weapons accounted for at least 123,485 civilian casualties (47%). While improvised explosive devices (IEDs) accounted for at least 135,800 civilian casualties (52%). (A further 3,128 civilian casualties were caused by incidents using both improvised and manufactures explosive weapon types.)

·  Air-launched explosive weapons were responsible for 23% of all civilian deaths and injuries.

·  Ground-launched explosive weapons were responsible for 21%. The remaining 4% were caused by incidents using multiples types of explosive weapons (3%), mines (<1%), naval-launched explosives (<1%) and those recorded with an unclear launch method (<1%).

·  Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen saw the highest number of civilian deaths and injuries in the last decade with 77,534, 56,316, 28,424, 20,719 and 16,645 civilian casualties respectively.

·  Nine countries and territories saw over 5,000 civilian deaths and injuries in the last decade.

·  Incidents were recorded in 123 countries and territories around the world in the ten years.