The UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) today (06 Feb) said the number of casualties in Afghanistan from landmines and other explosives has more than tripled since 2012 and called for more long-term support for survivors.
The latest data from UNMAS showed that 1,415 Afghan civilians were killed or injured by mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) in 2018.
Children make up eight out of every 10 ERW casualties, according to UNMAS, which is attending the 22nd Meeting of Mine Action National Directors and United Nations Advisers (NDM-UN) at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from 5 to 8 February.
The UN agency notes that since 1989, more than 18 million ERW items have been cleared, along with more than 730,000 anti-personnel mines including over 750 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and 30,145 anti-tank mines.
This spike in casualty numbers is linked to new contamination by anti-personnel weapons in the country, linked to intensifying conflict between Government forces and the Taliban after 2014, Fruchet explained.
UNMAS said increased funding is critical to Afghanistan’s bid to be landmine-free by 2023 noting that the Government’s 85.1 million USD appeal for clearance activities is only around 50 percent fulfilled.
In an appeal for increased international support and awareness, landmine blast survivor and photographer Giles Duley described how important long-term care was to his recovery after he lost both legs and a forearm to a landmine in Afghanistan, and how damaging its absence had been for a fellow survivor in Cambodia, who was “living like a dog.”
In Afghanistan, landmine survivors make up a small fraction of the nearly three percent of the population that is registered as having a disability, according to UNMAS.
In the nearly 30 years since UNMAS has been working in Afghanistan, 30,000 people have been either hurt or killed by explosive devices~UNTV