Peacekeeping: Moving Landmines Out of the Way

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September 20, 2006: In 2005, landmine clearing operations removed 470,000 mines and 3.75 million other explosive devices (shells, bombs, grenades and the like) Some 740 square kilometers were cleared (635 mines, and 5,068 other explosive items per square kilometer.) That effort cost $376 million (half a million dollars per square kilometer, or about 50 cents per square meter). Over a quarter of the demining money comes from the United States, with most of the rest coming from European nations. Most of the mines are Russian and Chinese models, and most of those are found in places like Bosnia, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Mozambique, Burma, Colombia and Thailand, that can't afford to do the job themselves (or don't consider it a high enough priority). European nations removed their millions of World War II land mines by the 1950s. Millions of Cold War era mines were cleared from Europe during the 1990s. But it's taking longer in Asian and African nations because their demining efforts depend a lot on money and equipment donated by other nations. Last year, over 7,000 people were killed by uncleared mines. The largest number of dead for one country (1,100) were in Colombia, where leftist rebels and drug gangs have been using landmines to control civilian populations and protect illicit enterprises.

 


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