An estimated 110 million landmines in 64
countries remain buried and waiting to explode.
Since 2005, RWF has funded projects to clear
minefields in Cambodia. Our projects help families in rural areas
who are living on land that has been contaminated by landmines and
are therefore in constant danger. The projects also assist people
who have been harmed by landmines.
In 2010 RWF formed a partnership with MAG
America Inc. in Cambodia. Previously we were partnered with the
Adopt-A-Minefield program in the United Nations Association of the
USA until the UNA completed their mine clearance mission in
Anti-personnel landmines were first used during
World War I, products of the advent of modern warfare. Since that
time their proliferation has been astonishing. In Cambodia, an
estimated 10 million remain buried, in Egypt 23 million remain, in
Croatia 10 million, in Afghanistan 10 million, in Angola 15
million. An additional 200 million landmines worldwide remain
stockpiled waiting to deployed. Landmines kill or injure three
people an hour, 72 a day, 2,200 a month, 26,000 a year, year after
year. Eighty percent of victims are civilians, thousands of them
The horrifying toll goes far beyond the cost of
lost lives and medical expenses. Entire families, communities,
even entire nations are devastated. If the victim of a landmine is
a family's breadwinner, the future of the entire family is
jeopardized. Aside from the devastating psychological impact, the
family faces major economic consequences. How will the family feed
itself? Will the family have to move? Will the children be able to
attend school? In Cambodia there are presently over 35,000
amputees requiring ongoing health care and rehabilitation at a
tremendous cost to the health care system. Their productivity and
ability to contribute to the economic welfare of their families
and nation are diminished. The presence of millions of landmines
renders vast amounts of farmland unusable. Landmines often kill
grazing livestock. The cycle of suffering continues as a result.
Demining is an extremely time consuming and costly process. One
landmine costs about three dollars to purchase and 300 to 1,000
dollars to deactivate. The cost of eradicating landmines from
Cambodia today is three to 10 billion dollars. The economic burden
to countries often already struggling economically is staggering.
The humanitarian cost is both tragic and incalculable.