What is mine action?
Mine action operations accelerate the return of land to productive use and help establish a safe environment where people affected by conflict can rebuild stable and dignified lives. However, mine action is more than removing landmines from the ground: It includes clearance, risk education, victim assistance, advocacy and stockpile destruction.
What is the impact of mines?
Mines pose a threat to the safety of civilians during conflicts and long afterwards. Mines continue to maim and kill even decades after the war is over. They have a significant impact on people’s lives and livelihoods, generating humanitarian crises and impeding development of affected countries.
The presence of mines and other explosive remnants of war massively impacts communities living in affected territories for decades. Often, they can no longer farm their own fields and feed their families. Access to healthcare and vital supplies are often hindered, children cannot go to school, and refugees are unable to return home safely after war.
Mines and other explosive remnants of war hinder socio-economic development, restrict access to land and resources, and obstruct reconstruction after a conflict. Unless demining takes place, most affected countries remain stuck in a cycle of poverty; which is aggravated by the presence of explosive risk.
How are mines cleared?
Often, mines have not been laid in contained areas, but placed in a variety of strategic locations without a specific pattern. As a result, civilians, peacekeepers, aid workers and soldiers alike often have no way of knowing if they have entered a mined area. A combination of three methods is usually used to locate explosive hazards: manual detection with metal detectors, animal detection, and machines. After a mine is found, it is destroyed on site or disposed of safely.