Landmines are any type of container of explosive material than can be triggered when it comes into contact with a person or a vehicle. The explosive blast or fragments of a landmine are intended to incapacitate a person or vehicle.
10 Facts about Landmines:
- Landmines are generally buried 6 inches (15 centimeters) under the surface or simply laid above ground. Buried landmines can remain active for more than 50 years.
- Landmines come in two categories, anti-personnel landmines and anti-tank landmines. An anti-personnel landmine is designed to injure or kill a person, while an anti-tank landmine is designed to incapacitate tanks or other vehicles.
- Landmines were first created during World War I. While the original mines were anti-tank mines, anti-personnel mines were developed to prevent enemy forces from reusing or removing anti-tank mines.
- The random dissemination of landmines began in the 1960s. The U.S. dropped thousands of mines by plane during its nine-year bombing campaign of Laos.
- There are an estimated 110 million anti-personnel mines in the ground and another 250 million stockpiled across the world today. About 5 to 10 million mines are produced each year.
- The countries most affected by landmines are Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Iraq, China, Egypt and Laos. Mines are also a serious problem in Bosnia, Croatia, Georgia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Sudan.
- One person is killed by a landmine every 15 minutes. About 70 people are killed by a landmine every day. 26,000 people a year become landmine victims. A total of over one million people have been killed or maimed by landmines.
- The cost of removing all currently existing mines would be $50-$100 billion. Organizations like Minesweepers are dedicated to removing landmines across the globe. Overall, mine removal operations have resulted in the destruction of more than 2.2 million anti-personnel mines and 250,000 anti-tank mines.
- Landmines deprive some of the poorest people on Earth access to arable land, markets, schools, work and water. The existence of landmines can also prevent reconstruction, new development and the delivery of aid.
- Landmines place a burden on the health systems of developing countries. People hurt by mines need more antibiotics and need to stay in the hospital longer than other patients.
Landmines can be hard to detect and are often prevalent in areas decimated by war. This makes their existence especially dangerous to the poor and to refugees. While these facts about landmines can be distressing, great work by organizations like Minesweepers helps make environments less dangerous and the lives of the global poor safer.
– Brock Hall