Demining Bosnia - "The World Has Forgotten Us"
Almost two decades after the war in Bosnia & Herzegovina ended the country remains threatened by more than 120,000 landmines, buried in the ground along former frontlines. As urban areas are meanwhile largely cleared people living in the remote landside of Bosnia are permanently threatened by the sielent hazard near their homes.
Today nearly 1,250 square kilometers of BiH - about 2.5% of its total land mass - are still profoundly mined and not all areas are already known. Bosnia was supposed to be mine-free in 2009 but had to postpone the date to 2019, an enthusiastic goal that still seems very unrealistic. Bosnia seems to have the personal and technical capacity to demine the country but lacks in financial funds. The country needs an estimated amount of 40 million Euros every year to be mine-free until the end of this decade.
Bosnia & Herzegovina Mine Action Center (BHMAC) is responsible for non-technical survey of contaminated areas, planning, quality assurance and coordination of mine action activiites in the country. Demining activities are conducted by 27 accredited demining organizations including the highly efficient Norwegian People's Aid (NPA).
Living next to mine fields in rural areas has been accepted as a fact of life. Since Bosnia's three-year war ended in 1995 landmines have killed more than 600 people and injured about 1,700 individuals while the total number of victims including those killed or injured during the war is almost 10,000.
The Landmine Survivors Initiative (LSI) is a NGO that has developed a comprehensive approach to assist those who are injured by landmines as well as the relatives of those who were killed in an accident. LSI assists landmine survivors to recover and reintegrate into their communities. Until to date LSI has supported more than 3,000 landmine survivors in BiH and is also advocating for the rights of landmine survivors and victims.