It’s International Day For Mine Awareness - Here Are All The Places In The World People Are Still Being Blown Up By Land Mines

on April 04 2013 4:59 PM
Land Mind Survivor
Ismael Ibrahim Omar, 20, a victim of UXOs (unexploded ordnance), looks on in his house at the Al Salam camp for displaced persons, in El Fasher, Sudan, April 3, 2012. The problem of UXOs is faced by civilians during the Darfur conflict in Sudan and have affected many children, who come in contact with ordnance that still pose a risk of detonation, even decades after they have been used. Reuters/Albert Gonzalez Farran/UNAMID

“On this International Day, we reaffirm our commitment to a world free from the threat of mines and other remnants of war,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said in a statement on Thursday, marking the United Nations’ eighth annual International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

There are still landmines -- in some places, millions of them -- in countries like Cambodia, Somalia and Colombia. The 1997 Ottawa Treaty, the culmination of the Mine Ban Treaty and International Campaign to Ban Landmines, has still yet to be ratified by the U.S., Russia, China, Pakistan and India.

Land Mine Victim Oo Taung, 50, who lost his leg in a land mine blast in 1994, stands after taking a bath in Zawti village in Kyaukki township Jan. 24. More than 300 people in Kyaukki Township (population 115,200) in Northern Bago Division, adjacent to once war-torn Kayin State in Myanmar, have lost their limbs due to mine blasts. Most of the blasts happened while they were working on their farms or picking vegetables outside their village, villagers said.  Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun

The U.N. estimates there are still 178 million landmines stockpiled in 50 countries, despite the treaty. Of these, the U.S. has the largest stockpile, despite having ceased manufacturing landmines in 1997.

Map Of Land Mine Casualties Dark red = very high number of casualties and fatalities Light red = high number of casualties and fatalities Yellow = moderate number of casualties and fatalities A schematic showing the countries with more than 100 victims of land mines recorded between 1999 and 2010, this map uses data from International Campaign To Ban Landmines - Cluster Munition Coalition. Note, though, that depending on the color and the size of the country, the mine-density and probability rate of actually encountering/stepping on a mine varies. For example, Russia has a moderate amount of victims, yet the country is very large; hence a country like Albania, Burundi or Rwanda actually has a much higher probability rate of encountering/stepping on a mine.  Wikimedia Commons

To date, the countries who still suffer the highest casualties worldwide from landmines are Afghanistan, Cambodia, Colombia, Iraq and Somalia.

Land Mine Clearers Members of the Iraqi Mine and Unexploded Ordnance Clearance Organization, or IMCO, work to find mines in the Shatt-al-Arab district, in Iraq's southern city of Basra, Nov. 6, 2012. Decades of war have left Iraq with one of the worst mine problems in the world, according to Unicef, with around 20 million anti-personnel mines and more than 50 million cluster bombs believed to be left over in border areas and southern oilfields.  Reuters/Atef Hassan

In Colombia, between 1990 and 2013, more than 10,000 civilians have been wounded or killed, Reuters estimates. In Afghanistan, there are an estimated 100,000 landmines left over from the Soviet invasion and occupation.

Land Mine Clearer A remover of war ordnance in full protection gear searches for land mines near Mitiga airport in Tripoli Nov. 16, 2011.  Reuters/Ismail Zitouny

Thirty-eight years after the end of the Vietnam War, the Vietnamese government estimates there are still between 1 million and 3 million metric tons of unexploded mines in Vietnam. Between 1975 and 2007, somewhere around 105,000 Vietnamese civilians were maimed or killed, the Guardian reports.

 

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