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Paul Jefferson, one of the earliest humanitarian deminers said “a landmine is the perfect soldier: Ever courageous, never sleeps, never misses”. The simplicity and cost-effectiveness of mines are major factors in explaining the widespread use of mines throughout the numerous countries that are now faced with dealing with the mine contamination problem.

Detection and removal of antipersonnel landmines is, at the present time, a serious problem of political, economical, environmental and humanitarian dimension. As this map shows, there is still a long way to go before the world is free of anti-personnel landmines.

The following facts reflect the seriousness of this problem:

  • It is estimated that there are 110 million land mines in the ground right now; one for every 52 inhabitants of the planet. An equal amount is in stockpiles waiting to be planted or destroyed.
  • Mines cost between $3 and $30, but the cost of removing them is $300 to $1000.
  • The cost of removing all existing mines would be $50- to $100-billion.
  • Mines kill or maim more than 5,000 people annually.
  • Mine and explosive remnant of war casualties occur in every region of the world, causing an estmated 15,000 - 20,000 injuries each year.
  • One deminer is killed and two injured for every 5000 successfully removed mines.
  • Overall, about 85 per cent of reported land mine casualties are men, many of whom are soldiers. However, in some regions, 30 per cent of the victims are women.
  • Mines create millions of refugees or internally displaced people
  • The areas most affected by land mines include: Egypt (23 million, mostly in border regions); Angola (9-15 million); Iran (16 million); Afghanistan (about 10 million); Iraq (10 million); China (10 million); Cambodia (up to 10 million); Mozambique (about 2 million); Bosnia (2-3 million); Croatia (2 million); Somalia (up to 2 million in the North); Eritrea (1 million); and Sudan (1 million). Egypt, Angola, and Iran account for more than 85 per cent of the total number of mine-related casualties in the world each year.
  • Until recently, about 100 000 mines were being removed, and about two million more were planted each year.
  • If demining efforts remain about the same as they are now, and no new mines are laid, it will still take 1100 years to get rid of all the world’s active land mines.
  • For the military, mine detection rates of 80% are accepted since all the military needs are a quick breach in a minefield. For humanitarian mine clearing it is obvious that the system must have a detection rate approaching the perfection of 99.6%.
  • The most common injury associated with land mines is loss of one or more limbs. In the United States, the rate of amputation is 1 for every 22 000 people. In Angola, it is 30 for every 10 000.
  • In many of the most affected areas of the world, agriculture is the mainstay of the economy. Land mines are planted in fields, forests, around wells, water sources, and hydroelectric installations, making these unusable, or usable only at great risk. Both Afghanistan and Cambodia could double their agricultural production if land mines were eliminated.


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