September 14, 2015
When a conflict ends and the visible threats move out, it is often assumed all potential danger has moved on too. No longer are there groups of rebels or military fighting it out in the open or sounds of gunfire and explosions. All is calm. Or so it appears.
However, all too often, beneath the surface lie land mines and other unexploded ordnance planted in a time of conflict. Once the conflict has ceased, these items are often not removed and have no ability to discriminate between soldier, civilian, animal, child and machinery — in 2013 79 percent of casualties from land mines were civilians. All they need is the right amount of pressure to inflict a large amount of damage.
With over 100 million laid and active land mines globally — and that’s not to mention millions of tons of other UXO, such as rockets and improvised explosive devices — this still happens at an all too alarming rate. For instance, today, 56 states and four other areas (Kosovo, Nagorno-Karabakh, Somaliland and Western Sahara) are known to have hazardous antipersonnel land mine-contaminated areas.