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Frequently Asked Questions
How many landmines afflict our world today?
An estimated 80 million landmines are still buried worldwide. In addition, more than 90 countries have stockpiled approximately 230 million landmines in their arsenals.

What areas of the globe are the most affected by landmines?
Landmines pose an extremely serious threat to civilian populations in 25 countries. The Middle East has been called the landmine heartland, with tens of millions of landmines buried from Morocco to Afghanistan. The most landmine-afflicted countries include Afghanistan, Angola and Cambodia, while China, Russia and the United States currently have the largest stockpiles in the world.

How many people are killed or injured by landmines each year?
Every 28 minutes someone steps on a landmine.  Over 6,500 new casualties were identified in 2004.   This number does not include the thousands of casualties that go unreported when victims are killed or injured in remote areas, away from assistance and any means of communication.  In reality, landmines kill or injure approximately 18,000 people every year.

Do landmines victimize large numbers of civilians?
Yes – over 80% of landmine victims are civilian, of which nearly one-third are women and children.

How many Americans have been killed or injured by landmines?
The U.S. Department of Defense estimates that 100,000 Americans were killed or injured in landmine incidents during the 20th century – the equivalent of nearly seven military divisions. Landmines caused 33% of the deaths of U.S. soldiers in Vietnam, 26% in Somalia and 13% in the first Gulf War. And there have been more than 100 confirmed U.S. casualties due to landmines in recent operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

What types of injuries do landmines inflict?
More than half of all landmine victims die. If the person is not killed immediately, the variety and severity of the wounds usually depend on the person’s proximity to the blast. Landmines most often cause the loss of one or more limbs, but can inflict other injuries as they project rocks and other objects into the victim’s body. Landmines also frequently rob people of their vision in one or both eyes.

What kind of assistance do most landmine victims receive?
Fewer than 10% of landmine victims have access to proper medical care and rehabilitation services. Moreover, the U.S. Department of State estimates that less than one in four landmine amputees are fitted with a proper prosthesis.

How many countries manufacture landmines?
The number of mine-producing countries has dropped from 55 to 14 since the International Campaign to Ban Landmines began its work in 1992.

Does the United States currently produce landmines?
Forty-seven U.S. companies have been involved in the manufacture of anti-personnel (AP) landmines. But since 1997, 19 of these companies have agreed to renounce future involvement in landmine production. And because U.S. stockpiles are currently at capacity, there hasn’t been any U.S.-based production of AP landmines since 1996. Nevertheless, the U.S. has failed to adopt an official moratorium or ban on landmine production.

What are the different types of landmines?
Anti-personnel (AP) landmines generally detonate when someone walks close by or makes direct contact with them. They can incapacitate, injure or kill more than one person at a time.

There are two types of AP mines:
Blast mines, usually laid on or under the ground or scattered from the air, generally inflict foot, leg and groin injuries, with secondary infections usually resulting in amputation.
Fragmentation mines are activated by a tripwire and frequently cause upper-body injuries (they can even decapitate people).

Anti-tank (AT) landmines are designed to detonate when more than 350 pounds of pressure is applied to them. Consequently, they can destroy tanks and other vehicles, as well as the people in or surrounding them.

How are landmines cleared?
Clearing mines is dangerous, time-consuming and costly work. Humanitarian de-miners use a variety of tools, including metal detectors, vegetation cutters, metal prodders and sometimes even dogs to locate landmines. Under perfect conditions, one de-miner can clear seven to 10 meters a day. And while producing a landmine can cost as little as $3 (U.S.), removing it can cost up to $1,000.

New landmine clearing technologies, such as ground-penetrating radar and passive infrared detection, are currently being developed, but it may be many years before they can be reliably applied in the rice paddies of Cambodia, the mountains of Afghanistan, the dense vegetation of Mozambique and other difficult terrains where landmines are found.

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