April 4th, the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, was celebrated in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and all around the world yesterday.
On the occasion of the International Mine Awareness Day, the Mine Action Center in BiH reported that 136.148 mines and explosive remnants of war had been found in BiH up to date. According to analyzes, BiH remains one of the countries with the most uncleared landmines on its territory in the world, with more than 800.000 vulnerable citizens, while the economic loss from not using areas with possible mine remnants is estimated at tens of millions of euros per year (65 percent forest areas, 25 percent agricultural land are currently covered with mines).
The current pandemic led to reduced field activities, which is reflected in the overall implementation of annual and strategic plans. In the last year, about 50 percent of the planned demining tasks were done, but at the same time, due to the increased number of people going to nature and movement near suspicious areas, emergency marking activities were intensified, where about 9.000 mine warning signs were placed and renewed.
Thanks to the activities of setting signs, as well as the mine education program, the number of accidents has been drastically reduced compared to previous years, while in the last two years there have been no civilian casualties at all.
As a result of mine accidents, 1.766 people were injured, of which 617 passed away. Out of this number, 115 were deminers (53 deaths).
About 3.240 square meters of the suspicious area were reduced, where 136.148 mines and explosives were found.
The danger was confirmed in 118, out of a total of 145 existing municipalities in BiH. It is estimated that within 1.421 endangered communities, there are more than 180.000 mines.
Since last year, a mobile application with mine suspected areas has been available in BiH. By introducing this app, the way of obtaining information on the safety of the area to be visited, ie on the possible existence of a mine danger in the vicinity of the desired location, has been greatly simplified.
It is emphasized that the purpose of the application is entirely to warn citizens and tourists about the existence of dangerous areas and the prohibition of access to such areas.
Late last year, BiH received an extension of the deadline for the removal of all remaining mines under the Ottawa Convention, signed in 1997, with more than 160 other countries that were affected by the same issue.
The new approval clearly specifies that all remaining minefields in the country will be cleared by 2027, under the existing Mine Action Strategy in BiH, as the Mine Action Center in BiH announced.