In the U.S., it’s sometimes easy to forget how fortunate we are. We haven’t really seen a full-scale war that actually takes place on our soil since the Civil War. It becomes hard to imagine that violence and danger are everyday realities in people’s lives elsewhere, especially in regards to landmines.
Landmines are currently still residing in 60 countries all over the world. They claimed an average of 10 lives per day in 2014 according to the-monitor.org, and the United Nations reports that landmines permanently and severely injure over 15,000 people every year.
While the physical impact of the landmines is atrocious, there are many issues that stem from it- unrecovered landmines affect every aspect of how families and how a town functions. A past CISR member, Ed Lajoie explains, “they’re isolated by this border. They have goods to trade, but don’t have a safe routes to do… it was a matter of choosing; were they going to risk not having water for their children, or are they going to risk going through the mine field?” Lajoie also says that families living with landmines must choose between having access to farmland, to livestock, their way of life, all for safety. It affects every aspect of their lives.
The worst part about landmines that remain undetected by active is that many of the people affected by them, whether from isolation to being physically hurt or killed, are people that weren’t even alive when the landmines were even placed there. Even scarier, it could keep happening; there are still stockpiles of these weapons that have not been destroyed so that they cannot continue to hurt innocent people.
The landmines create a vicious cycle. Towns are endangered in the act of performing the most basic tasks that they must to survive, and when they take the risk, sometimes they are hurt or killed. Because of the risk, it is difficult to receive supplies and aide for those who have been injured. Landmines only perpetuate the isolation of the people who live in fear of them. With sustained resources, those 60 countries could be landmine free by 2025. The silver lining of this problem is that the goal is attainable in the very near future .
No one should have to put a price on their children or their personal safety. This can be accomplished, we’re very nearly there. Organizations like CISR are helping to stop this. Let’s see it through to the end.