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Logo of bmjThis ArticleThe BMJ
BMJ. 2007 November 17; 335(7628): 1014–1015.
PMCID: PMC2078651

Land mines mostly affect civilians but medical care often inadequate

Land mines and other explosive remnants of war, including cluster munitions, claimed 5751 casualties—including 1367 people killed and 4296 injured—in 68 countries in 2006. Civilians made up three quarters of all victims, a global report says.

Overall, children—almost all boys—accounted for one third of civilian victims. In some places most casualties were children. In Afghanistan they accounted for 59% of casualties, Palestine 67%, Somalia 66%, Ethiopia 62%, Nepal 53%, Mozambique 49%, Vietnam 44%, the Democratic Republic of Congo 42%, and Laos 41%.

One quarter of casualties were military staff. “Deminers,” carrying out clearance activities, accounted for 1%. The report estimates the current global number of survivors at 473 000, “with many needing life long care.”

Last year's total is a 16% drop on 2005, and fewer than half the 11 700 new casualties reported in 2002, it says, and attributes the drop to the positive effect of the 1997 global treaty to ban mines and efforts of pressure groups.

But the report also cautions that the 2006 total refers only to recorded casualties, adding that the actual total number “is unknown but certainly higher . . . as data collection is inadequate in many countries.”

The largest number of casualties was in Colombia, with 1106 (1112 in 2005), Afghanistan 796 (996), Pakistan 488 (214), Cambodia 450 (875), Somalia 401 (276), Burma 243 (231), Lebanon, 207 (22), and Nepal 169 (197).

The report by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, titled Landmine Monitor Report 2007, says that despite many programmes, help for survivors is inadequate in those countries having the greatest need for medical care, rehabilitation, and other services to survivors.

The campaign, a coalition of more than 1000 organisations in 72 countries, which won the Nobel peace prize in 1997, says that, overall, adequate advances were made in only 11 countries, with most progress reported by Albania and Tajikistan.

On a positive note, the report points out that in Cambodia last year 60% of new casualties received medical care within 30 minutes of their injury and that the fatality rate was reduced to 14% compared with 19% in 2005.

The study asserts that more than 160 million land mines are still stockpiled by nations not party to the 1997 treaty, with the bulk belonging to China, Russia, and the United States. Of the treaty's 155 members 145 have no stockpiles and collectively have destroyed about 42 million land mines.

Last year, international funding for mine action increased to a record level of $475m (€320m; £230m). But the campaign's analysts noted that about 80-90% of this was for mine clearance and only a small proportion was to support survivors.


The Landmine Monitor Report 2007 is available at

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