I have just discovered the UNMAS website. UNMAS is the United Nations Mine Action Service and their vision is:
“a world free of the threat of landmines and explosive remnants of war, where individuals and communities live in a safe environment conducive to development and where the needs of victims are met.”
UNMAS is :
” Deeply alarmed by the number of mines that continue to be laid each year as
well as the presence of a decreasing but still very large number of, and area of
square kilometres contaminated by, mines and explosive remnants of war as a result
of armed conflicts, and therefore remaining convinced of the necessity and urgency
of strengthening mine-action efforts by the international community with a view to
eliminating the threat and the humanitarian impact of landmines and explosive
remnants of war to civilians as soon as possible.”
Unfortunately it seems, from all of the reading I have done, that the world will never be free of land mines: the coward’s weapon, the Devil’s device…they lie in wait.
I have just been reading about the group Clear Path International whose mission statement is:
Restore dignity and self-sufficiency to conflict survivors. We provide innovative, high-impact programming that is scalable, replicable, measurable and cost-effective.
This next information is straight from their website.
Clear Path International has been working with ethnic refugee committees along the Thai/Burma border since 2002 to provide prosthetic and rehabilitation care, psycho-social services, vocational training and socio-economic support to refugees and internally displaced landmine accident survivors. CPI has provided assistance to approximately 4,500 direct and indirect Burmese beneficiaries since 2002.
On their website I also saw the trailer for a film, The Eyes of Thailand, which tells the story of Soraida Salwala’s efforts to save two elephants which have been injured by landmines. They are given prosthetics. I must track this film down and watch the whole story as the trailer is only a tease.
Manual mine clearance is extremely dangerous, currently accidents occur at a rate of one every 1-2000 mines destroyed. United Nations
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross medical database, of mine-injured patients only 24.6% arrive within 6 hours, 69.4% within 24 hours and 84% within 72 hours. The remaining 16% travel for more than 3 days. 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.United Nations