Landmine victims: Afghanistan 2nd after Yemen in 2016

(MENAFN- Pajhwok Afghan News) (Pajhwok): was second after Yemen in terms of losing its citizens to landmines and IEDs last year, when 8,605 people fell prey to the hidden bombs around the , a report said Thursday.

The annual Landmine Monitor report released on Thursday by the Nobel Prize-winning International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) recorded 8,605 casualties in 2016, of which nearly 2,100 people were killed.

The new report says armed conflicts in Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine, and Yemen contributed to a second year of "exceptionally high" casualties caused by land mines.

The combined deaths and injuries marked the highest level since the group began gathering data in 1999, and the most child casualties ever recorded.

The report puts Afghan casualties from landmines at 1,943 people – the highest worldwide after Yemen. In 2015, 1,310 people were killed and wounded by landmines in Afghanistan.

Representatives of demining organizations in Kabul on Thursday expressed concern over the increasing number of landmine and narcotics victims in the country.

They said the government and the international community had reduced their assistance to the demining organizations by 80 percent.

Islamuddin Mohammadi, head of the Afghan Landmine Survivors Organization (ALSO), in a joint press conference in Kabul said that the new report covered 100 countries about landmine and IEDs situation.

He said 80 percent of the landmine victims were killed while 20 percent others lost limbs. He said the Afghans suffered more casualties than other nations during the last five years.

He said the Landmine Monitor report showed 78 percent of the landmine victims around the world were civilians, and children making 42 percent of them.

Mohammadi said demining organizations in Afghanistan had developed a plan that could make Afghanistan free of landmines until 2023 if the international community supported them.

He said currently more than 600,000 km/sq land was contaminated with landmines in Afghanistan.

'Considering the statistics of victims, reduction of the international community's support in this area is a matter of concern, we ask the Afghan government and the international community to assist demining organizations and institutes that help people with disabilities,' he said.

Abdul Wahid Liwal, head of the MDC demining projects, asked the international community to support the five-year demining plan in Afghanistan.

Ahmad Shah Azimi, advocacy committee member for people with disabilities, who was present at the conference, provided information about problems of the handicapped people and demanded solution to them.

He said the law for people with disabilities was approved in 2010 but was yet not to be practically enforced.

Sayed Alam Hashemi, head of well-being rehabilitation section at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled, confirmed people with disabilities were paid less attention.

But he said the ministry was trying to provide a three percent job quota for the dispabed persons in offices according to the law.

'Most of offices have so far not implemented this part of the law', he said, adding that the president has ordered two committees to open an and training center for people with disabilities.

He said 43 acres of land was allocated to the center and construction work on it would start soon.



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