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It is estimated that more than 110 million active mines are scattered in 68 countries with an equal number stockpiled around the world waiting to be planted.

Every month over 2,000 people are killed or maimed by mine explosions. Most of the casualties are civilians who are killed or injured after hostilities have ended.

For every mine cleared, 20 are laid. In 1994, approximately 100,000 were removed, while an additional 2 million were planted.

Anti-personnel mines are priced at $3 to $30 each. The cost to the international community of neutralizing them ranges from $300 to $1000.

The cost to remove all 110 million active mines is estimated at approximately $33 billion. Many experts believe that under current conditions it would take more than 1,100 years to clear the entire world of mines—provided that no additional mines are planted.

Land mine usage has dramatically increased over the past 20 years with an emphasis on its potential as a weapon to terrorize civilians. Mines are used to deny access to or usage of farmlands, irrigation channels, roads, waterways and public utilities.

Land mine victims need blood transfusions twice as often as people injured by bullets or fragments. The number of units of blood required to operate on patients with mine injuries is between 2 and 6 times greater than that needed by other war casualties.

Surgical care and the fitting of an orthopedic appliance cost about $3,000 per amputee in developing countries. This means a total expenditure of $750 million for the 250,000 amputees registered worldwide by the United Nations.

Delivery and distribution of relief assistance for emergency situations are affected when mines prevent or slow down provision of relief supplies. This increases the incidents of hunger and starvation among isolated populations.

According to the ICRC medical database, of mine-injured patients only 24.6% arrive within six hours, 69.4% within 24 hours and and 84% within 72 hours. The remaining 16% travel for more than 3 days.

Manual mine clearance is extremely dangerous currently accidents occur at a rate of one every 1-2,000 mines destroyed.

Buried landmines can remain active for over 50 years. The threat they pose thus lingers long after hostilities have ceased. Mines maim and kill tens of thousands of people each year, most of them women and children.

In addition to inflicting physical and psychological damage on civilians, landmines disrupt social services, threaten food security by preventing thousands of hectares of productive land from being farmed, and hinder the return and resettlement of refugees and displaced persons.


  Source: United Nations Mine Clearance and Policy Unit, Department of Humanitarian Affairs, September 1997.

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