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The Scourge of Landmines

This data taken from "The Horror of Land Mines" by Gino Strada Scientific American May 96 26 indicates the nature and scope of the problem.

Pattern A injuries (left) caused by a small blast mine such as the VS-50. These are less than 10 centimetres across an most commonly amputate a foot or leg. Slightly larger mines such as the Afghani PMN pack more dense explosives and will bloow the lower legs right off and cause further harm to the thighs, genitals or buttocks. Pattern C (right) are produced by the PFM-1 butterfuly mine dropped by helicopter to stick in the ground. These are commonly handled by children. Pattern D injuries from a fragmentation mine such as the POMZ-2 stake mine usually kill the person who triggers them.

VS-50, POMZ-2 and PFM-1

World distribution of land mines by country,

 country  mines per square mile  total (millions)
 egypt  59  23
 iran  25  16
 angola  31  15
 afghanistan  40  10
 cambodia  142  10
 china  3  10
 iraq  60  10
 bosnia  152  3
 croatia  92  2
 mozambique  7  2
 eritrea  28  1
 somalia  4  1
 sudan  1  1
 ukraine  4  1
 ethiopia  1  1
 yugoslavia  13  0.5
 jordan  5  0.2

Turning the Page Isn't So Easy for Him

If this boy had heen hit by a car there would be an investigation to find the driver responsible. Unfortunately there will he no investigation. No one will he brought to justice. Because this boy was hit by a landmine. Just another victim of a weapon that claims seventy new victims every day. A weapon that cannot identify its target (the vast majority of its victims are innocent civilians). A weapon that, once detonated, will drive dirt and fragments deep into the wound so that further amputations are often needed. A weapon that is particularly cruel on children whose hodies, heing smaller and closer to the hiast, are more likely to sustain serious injury. But the suffering doesn't stop there. The repercussions of a landmine explosion can spread far heyond the victim. The severe disabilities and psychological trauma that follow the blast mean these children will have to he looke(i after for many years. And the economic cost can I)e extremely high. A child injured at the age of ten will need about 25 artificial limbs during their lifetime. The cost is $3,000, a huge sum to pay in countries where people earn as little as $10 a month. That is why the task facing the International Committee of the Red Cross is such a huge one. Between 1979 and 1996 %%,e fitted over 70,000 amputees with artificial limbs, and we have established training programmes in 22 countries so that local technicians can take over the work of the rehabilitation centres. But only a small percentage of mine victims receive the assistance they need. And the landmine prohlem is still growing. For every landmine cleared anotlier 20 are planted. IN'hich is why we are committed to a worldwide ban ()n the production, stockpiling, export and use of anti-personnel landmines. The landmine isn't being ignored. Neither must its victims.