BEIRUT: Ninety percent of the land contaminated by cluster bombs in South Lebanon should be cleared by the end of 2008, the United Nations Mine Action Coordination Center (UNMACC), said on Wednesday "A number of factors caused the delay in clearing all the 38 million square meters of infested land," UNMACC spokeswoman Dalya Farran said during a news conference in the Southern city of Tyre. "Israel refusing to provide us with maps of where it has dropped cluster bombs constitutes the main obstacle," she added.
She said new stretches of land fouled by cluster bombs were being located "on a daily basis, since Israel dropped cluster bombs in the same areas in multiple instances during the war."
The UN and human rights groups say Israel dropped about 4 million cluster bomblets during last summer's war, most of them in the final 72 hours - after the terms of a UN-brokered cease-fire had been agreed.
A British demining expert was killed last week by a cluster bomb left over from the war. He died instantly when the bomb went off as he was sweeping for ordnance in Bint Jbeil.
Farran said in 2008 both funding allotted to demining works and the numbers of demining experts "will decrease."
"However, we are currently examining means by which we could get more funding and boost our personnel," she said.