The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today announced a multimillion dollar project to help Bosnia and Herzegovina - Europe's most heavily landmine-affected country - eliminate the deadly threat posed by those weapons.
Surveys have so far identified an estimated 670,000 mines and 650,000 pieces of unexploded ordnance (UXOs) at 10,000 locations, blighting more than 4 per cent of the total territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to the agency. Only 10 per cent of these areas have been cleared.
The five-year, $11.8 million project aims to help the Government by setting up a national office to issue tenders for anti-mine activities while providing continued funding for the Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Centre.
The initiative will also clear mines and UXOs from 4 million square metres of land needed for economic development.
UNDP Resident Representative Jens Toyberg-Frandzen said the aim is to help free Bosnia and Herzegovina of the landmine threat. "Only by working in partnership on mine action can we achieve security for all," he said.
Since the end of war in 1995, mines have killed almost 1,500 people and injured about 5,000 others in Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).