Regions of the World Affected by Land Mines
Magnitude of the Land Mine Problem
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An estimated 110 million land mines are in the ground, in 58 countries, right now. With the current population of Earth at 7.7 billion, that’s one unexploded mine for every 70 people.
Land mines kill and maim 15,000 to 20,000 people every year. In some countries, including Cambodia and Somalia, 50 to 55 percent of those injured by land mines are children. About 85 percent of these children die before their parents can get them to a hospital.
For these people, wars long past are far from over.
Devastating Personal and Global Impact
In many regions of the world, dense concentrations of mines lay over hundreds of square miles. With little or no record keeping, most enemy soldiers placed mines where they would do the most damage: in fertile farmland, livestock grazing areas, around water sources needed by locals and their livestock, schools, factories, footpaths, roads, bridges, plus structures essential for mass-transport and shipping, including railroads and airports, and hydroelectric installations. Mines also prevent regional and national development, since they block access to otherwise useable and exportable natural resources.
The impact is far-reaching—starvation, poverty, regional conflicts, refugees, requests for aid from the UN and countries around the world, and even some locals joining dangerous organizations in the desperate need to survive.
Since most minefields remain unmarked, the presence of even one land mine hinders village development and diverts manpower to demining efforts. And consider this:
ONE LAND MINE can injure or kill several people.
ONE LAND MINE injury can cause an entire family to become destitute.
ONE LAND MINE keeps a large area from being farmed.
ONE LAND MINE can cause a village to lose stability.
Even wildlife is being impacted. For example, elephants are just one species found killed and maimed by land mines.
The UN estimates it will take 1100 years to remove all land mines in the world, with current demining technology.
3 Main Types of Land Mines . . .
and the Hellish Secret Most People Don’t Know
Anti-tank (AT) mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO), such as mortars, grenades, and cluster bombs, are designed to destroy vehicles and kill as far away as 50 meters or more. Anti-personnel (AP) mines are intentionally designed not to kill but to severely maim.
And here is that truly hellish secret: The plastic housing and interior of many AP mines is not metal, nor do these AP mines contain shrapnel. Instead, the extreme speed of the explosion is enough to rip flesh off the bone and entrain dirt in the wound, or to tear off limbs completely. The idea is that a wounded soldier takes more personnel to carry off the field, as well as more money and time to treat in a hospital, than a dead soldier. For innocent civilians, it likewise means loss of limbs, eyes, and more.
Like the AP mines, some AT mines were also constructed mostly of plastic. Explosives of this design are known as “minimum metal mines.” Metal AT mines and UXO are relatively easy to locate using metal detectors. In most minimum metal AP and AT mines, only the spring and primer are constructed of metal. As such, these mines are very difficult and labor-intensive to detect.