News / Africa

Landmine Report: Record Clearance and Funding

Woman enters forest area in Orientale Province in the DRC. The path has been cleared of landmines.
Woman enters forest area in Orientale Province in the DRC. The path has been cleared of landmines.
Joe DeCapua

The latest report on landmines has both good and bad news. It says governments have provided a record level of funding to remove the weapons. But at the same time the use of antipersonnel mines has increased.

Landmine Monitor 2011 shows funding for mine clearance reached an all-time high last year.

“It’s very good news, particularly with the state of the global economy. We were quite surprised and pleased to record in 2010 the highest level of funding for mine action. And that total is $637 million. So it’s a slight increase from last year, but given the state of the economy it feels just amazing and really shows governments’ commitment to this issue,” said Jacqueline Hansen, the Monitor’s program manager.

More than 30 donors supported landmine clearing operations.

“The top five donors are the United States, the European Commission, Japan, Norway and Canada. And they collectively provide over half of all funding,” she said.

Centimeter by centimeter

About 200 square kilometers of land were cleared of landmines in 2010. That’s the most ever for a single year.

Hansen said, “Two hundred square kilometers, it’s about five times the size of Paris. It may not sound like a lot for a global total, but when you’re imagining people lying on their bellies on the ground prodding every centimeter looking for mines, suddenly 200 square kilometers sounds awfully big.”

Nearly 390,000 antipersonnel mines and 27,000 anti-vehicle mines were destroyed in 2010.

Mine clearance is taking place in about 45 countries. The biggest operations are in Afghanistan and Cambodia. But while landmines are being removed, Hansen said more are being buried.

“This year we’ve seen an increase in government use of antipersonnel mines. We’ve seen new use in Libya. New use in the past couple months in Israel. Ongoing use in Myanmar. And we have very serious allegations since our report went to print of use in Syria,” she said.

Losing legs, arms, lives

The landmine report, released in Bangkok, Thailand, said thousands were killed or injured in 2010.

“We’ve recorded 4,191new casualties in 2010. But we know that number’s not correct because there’s underreporting in a lot of different countries. Especially in the middle of conflict zones, it’s just difficult to get accurate data. So probably the real number is probably upwards of 6,000. But when we look at what that means in the big picture, it means we have hundreds of thousands of survivors. And that total keeps growing year after year and these people need assistance for the rest of their lives,” Hansen said.

The Landmine Monitor keeps track of who’s producing the weapons.

“There are 12 countries that we list as producers of antipersonnel mines, largely because they reserve the right to produce mines. But in terms of mines actually coming off the production lines right now, we believe that there [are] only three countries actively producing – Myanmar/Burma, India and Pakistan,” she said.

Since the international landmine treaty was signed in 1997, 158 countries have become parties to it. The Obama administration, like previous U.S. administrations, has not signed. Despite that, the U.S. does comply with many of its provisions. The International Campaign to Ban Landmines says the United States has not used antipersonnel mines since 1991 and has not exported them since 1992.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid