Afghanistan still tops land mine casualty list (Afghanistan)
KABUL: Afghanistan remains the country worst affected by land mine explosions, with an average of 50 people killed or maimed every month despite massive clearing efforts, the United Nations said yesterday.
Afghanistan is dotted with land mines as a result of three decades of war and invasions. About 150,000 Afghans have disabilities resulting from mine blasts, said the director general of the UN's Mine Action Centre for Afghanistan. "Three years ago, Afghans were suffering because of mines... something like 150 people per month. Today it's an average of something like 45 to 50 people per month," the UN official, Haidar Reza, told reporters.
"But keep in mind that 50 people per month is still a very high figure, and it puts Afghanistan at the very top of the list of the countries that suffer because of mines and unexploded ordnance," he said.
The UN-funded programme cleared 380,000 anti-personnel mines and nearly 20,000 anti-tank mines over a period of 18 years through the end of 2007.
In 2008, the programme cleared 82,000 anti-personnel mines and more than 900 anti-tank mines, Reza said. Two-thirds of Afghanistan has been cleared of landmines, with thousands of deminers working on the monumental task for years, but millions of people still live on mined land. In the past year, 50 deminers have been killed or disabled while doing their work, and more than a dozen more were killed in hostile action.
Reza said insecurity and lack of adequate funds would make it more difficult to reach the goal of clearing the entire country of mines by 2013.
Source ::: AFP
Von: 13.12.2009, www.thepeninsulaqatar.com