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YEMEN: Landmine-free by 2009?

SANAA, 21 March 2008 (IRIN) - The UN Development Programme (UNDP) office in Yemen has said areas with a high density of landmines have been cleared, but challenges remain.

Yuka Ogata, UNDP's Crisis Prevention and Recovery programme officer, told IRIN that landmines were still a big problem: “There were many victims, often women and children, and they either became handicapped or were killed,” she said, adding that affected agricultural land lay idle.

The Yemen Mine Action Centre (YMAC) plans to rid the country of landmines by March 2009, but Yuka said Yemen would probably be unable to achieve that goal because of lack of funds.

Donor countries include Japan, Germany, Sweden, Canada, USA, Italy, UK, Belgium and the Netherlands. “Each year we receive US$2-3 million. We hope to have more funds this year," Yuka said.

Four conflicts

Landmines were planted in Yemen during four different conflicts. The first was the 1962-75 civil war between republicans and royalists in the north of the country; the second the war for independence in the south 1967-73; the third a war on the North-South border between 1970-83; and the fourth the 1994 conflict between the North and the South.

According to the UNDP Mine Action Project report for 2007, 1,629,000 square metres was cleared of mines in 2007. A total of 8,260 mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) were safely destroyed in 2007.

The report said mine risk education (MRE) was provided to 14,660 females and 15,300 males (total 29,960 individuals) in 33 affected communities; 106 victims were taken to major hospitals for medical examination and treatment; 130 victims were rehabilitated. They were given prosthetic devices, wheelchairs, hearing aids, ocular surgery, physiotherapy or a combination of these.

Monthly landmine casualties: 4-6

According to Landmine Monitor Report 2007: Toward a Mine-Free World in 2007 it was noted that there were four to six new landmine casualties per month (48-72 annually) in Yemen.

"This confirms earlier estimates that five Yemenis per month would be injured or killed by landmines. But these estimates do not match the increased number of recorded casualties, suggesting there is significant under-reporting of casualties. Most under-reported groups are females and people in remote villages," the report said.

The report said women and children were the most vulnerable groups due to the nature of their activities, such as shepherding and playing.


Theme(s): (IRIN) Aid Policy, (IRIN) Education, (IRIN) Gender Issues


Copyright © IRIN 2008
This material comes to you via IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations or its Member States.
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