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Landmine Facts

How many landmines affect the world today?
An estimated 80 million landmines are still buried worldwide. It is now estimated that 54 countries have approximately 180 million antipersonnel mines stockpiled.

How many countries are affected by landmines?
At least 84 countries are affected by landmines.  More than 200,000 square kilometers of the world’s surface is contaminated with landmines.  That is the equivalent to half of the state of California.

What areas of the world are the most affected by landmines?
Landmines pose an extremely serious threat to civilian populations in 24 countries. The most landmine-affected countries include Afghanistan, Angola and Cambodia.
The Middle East has been called the landmine heartland, with tens of millions of landmines buried from Morocco to Afghanistan.

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.

How many people are affected by landmines?
There are too many to count.  There are the survivors, and their families, as well as everyone living near a minefield or suspected minefield.

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

How many landmine survivors are there in the world?
There are between 300,000 and 400,000 people living with landmine-related injuries worldwide.  That is equivalent to the entire population of Miami, Florida.

What types of injuries do landmines inflict?
More than half of all landmine victims die.  For those who do not die, the variety and severity of their wounds depends on how close the person was to the blast. Landmines most often cause the loss of one or more limbs, but can also cause other injuries as they project rocks and other objects into the victim’s body. Landmines also frequently cause people to lose 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. In many countries landmine accidents happen in remote areas, where the victim cannot reach a hospital in time.  The U.S. Department of State estimates that less than one in four landmine amputees are fitted with a proper prosthesis.

How many countries make landmines?
The number of mine-producing countries has dropped from over 50 to 15 since the International Campaign to Ban Landmines began its work in 1992.  There has been no country to country trade of landmines since the mid 1990’s.  China, Russia and the United States currently have the largest stockpiles in the world.

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 anti-personnel landmines since 1997. Nevertheless, the U.S. has failed to adopt an official moratorium or ban on landmine production.

How many landmines are stockpiled in the U.S.?
The U.S. stockpiles 10.2 million antipersonnel mines and 7.5 million antivehicle mines.  This makes the US the third largest landmines power after China and Russia.

Did the US ever export landmines?
From 1969 to 1992, the United States exported over 5 million antipersonnel landmines to over 30 countries including Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Iraq, Laos, Lebanon, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Somalia, and Vietnam.  All of these countries now have landmine survivors.  U.S.-manufactured antipersonnel mines have been found by deminers in at least twenty-eight mine-affected countries or regions.

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 accidents during the 20th century – the equivalent of the population of Albany, New York. 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 150 confirmed U.S. casualties due to landmines since 2001. (IRAQ)

Is the U.S. using landmines in this most recent war in Iraq?
No.  The last time the U.S. used landmines was in the 1991 Gulf War. 

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.  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?
Producing a landmine can cost as little as $3 and removing it can cost up to $1,000.
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 average conditions, one deminer can only clear up to 10 square meters a day. 

How are dogs used in demining?
Dogs use their sense of smell to find landmines in the ground.  A lot of time goes into their training to avoid any accidents.

Why does landmine clearance take so long?
Minefields are often found in rocky areas, forests, and other areas that are difficult to walk in- let alone work in.  Safety is important, and can also slow the process.  New technology is being developed to hopefully speed up the process.

What is the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT)?
The Mine Ban Treaty (MBT) is the international agreement that bans landmines.  The treaty prohibits the use, stockpiling, transfer, production and stockpiling of antipersonnel landmines for the countries who have signed the treaty.  The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), made up of a group of civil society organizations, was instrumental in creating the treaty.

LSN has been part of the ICBL since 1995. The Mine Ban Treaty (MBT) became international law on March 1, 1999, following ratification by 40 countries. Seven years later, there are now 151 nations that have adopted this treaty. The MBT is the only arms treaty in existence that makes provisions for the victims of victims of landmines. The obligation to assist landmine victims is due largely in part to the efforts of LSN co-founders Jerry White and Ken Rutherford. Governments are now required under international law to provide assistance to landmine survivors in their community.

How long do landmines last?
Landmines can remain “active” in the ground for over fifty years.  Landmines in the ground from World War II can still be a threat to civilian populations.

How much does it cost to provide a landmine survivor with a prosthetic limb?
It costs between $100 and $3,000 to provide an artificial limb to a survivor.  On average, these must be replaced every three to five years for adults, and every six months for children.

What is a smart mine?
Smart mines are mines that can be programmed to deactivate after a preset amount of time.  This technology is not always reliable.

What can I do to help?

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