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The Human Cost of Landmines

In the desolate heights of Afghanistan, in the lush African savannas and steep Bosnian valleys, in cities and villages, tens of millions of landmines lie hidden, to be cleared -as one Cambodian surgeon put it - “One limb at a time.”

Antipersonnel mines primarily target civilians. Victims are invariably the poorest and most vulnerable members of society. It is the subsistence farmers, nomads, children at play, fleeing refugees and those returning home after the war to heavily mined villages and farms, who are the most affected.

Economic necessity forces these people to enter known minefields every day in search of food and water, to graze livestock, to raise crops, cut firewood, or gather thatch to sell or use for building materials.

It is those who rely mainly on their physical fitness for survival, who are obliged to live and work in mined areas. And it is these same people who can least afford the care and treatment necessary to treat landmine injuries