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April 4 Declared First “International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action"

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World free from threat of landmines achievable in years, not decades

NEW YORK and HA NOI, 3 April 2006— The UN General Assembly has declared April 4th, the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. Events are planned around the world to raise awareness about landmines and progress toward their eradication.

The battle against landmines is being won, with some countries already achieving mine-free status. But victory will depend on the unflagging commitment of the governments of those countries where mines still exist and on the sustained support of the international community, according to Max Gaylard, director of the United Nations Mine Action Service.

“The task of eliminating landmines is enormous, but it can be completed in years, rather than decades, as long as mine-affected countries do everything in their power to become mine-free, and donor countries and organizations maintain their interest and financial support,” said Gaylard. “Unlike so many of the global problems of our day, this one can be solved. April 4 is an opportunity to remind the world that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

In Viet Nam, UNICEF started its unexploded ordnance (UXO) and Mine Risk Education activities in 2002. UNICEF is working closely with the Ministry of Education and Training to develop a primary school safety and injury prevention manual which includes a comprehensive, international-standard chapter on UXO/mine safety. This manual has been introduced to the primary school students in 15 provinces, followed by various programmes on national and local television and radio. In addition, UNICEF has supported community and school based mine risk education in Central Region provinces including Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue.

It is estimated that between 350,000 - 800,000 tons of war-era ordnance remain in the ground throughout Viet Nam, particularly in the central and southern regions. 38,849 people have been killed by landmines and Unexploded Ordinance (UXO) since the end of the Viet Nam-American war in 1975, and a further 65,852 additional people have been injured.

According to the Ministry of Defence’s Technology Centre on Unexploded Ordnance and Landmine Disposal (BOMICO), around 20 per cent of Vietnam’s land surface area (i.e., a total area of 66,578 million square meters) is affected by unexploded ordnance (UXO) and landmines.

According to the Landmine Monitor Report 2005, 84 countries around the world are affected to some extent by landmines and unexploded ordnance, which together kill or maim between 15,000 and 20,000 adults and children every year, down from an estimated 26,000 in the late 1990s. The United Nations and its agencies, programmes, departments and funds is helping to find and destroy these devices and providing other mine-action services in 30 countries and three territories.

UNICEF Viet Nam will continue to support the government to reduce the incidence and severity of injuries caused by UXO/landmine through various activities including advocacy, capacity building and mine risk education. The activities will be implemented in Central Region provinces including Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri & Thua Thien Hue.

“Mine action” refers to a range of efforts to clear landmines and explosive remnants of war and to mark and fence off dangerous areas. It also includes assisting victims, teaching people how to remain safe in a mine-affected environment, advocating for universal participation in international treaties related to landmines, explosive remnants of war and their victims, and destroying landmines stockpiled by governments and non-state armed groups.

For further information please contact:
In Viet Nam, contact Nguyen Thi Thanh An, Child Injury Prevention Section, UNICEF Viet Nam, Tel: +84 4 9425706-11 ext: 270; e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In New York, contact Richard Kollodge, UN Mine Action Service, +1-212 963-5677, e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; Gianluca Buono, UNICEF, +1-212-326-7498; e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ;
Jackie Seck-Diouf, UN Development Programme, +1-212-906-6974, e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Landmine facts & figures

Viet Nam:

Viet Nam was one of the most heavily bombed countries in the world, and some regions of the country are heavily contaminated by landmines due to past conflicts:

Around 20 per cent of Viet Nam’s land surface area (i.e., a total area of 66,578 million square meters) is affected with unexploded ordnance (UXO) and landmines.

It is estimated that a range of 350,000 - 800,000 tons of war-era ordnance remain in the ground throughout the country, particularly in central and southern Viet Nam.

38,849 people have been killed by landmines and UXO since the end of the Viet Nam-American war in 1975, and a further 65,852 additional people have been injured

General:

Number of countries thought to be affected to some extent by landmines and explosive remnants of war: 82

Number of landmines still buried in the ground worldwide: Unknown (what’s more important than the quantity is their impact on lives and livelihoods)

Number of governments reported to have used landmines as of 2005: 3

Number of countries that are producing or capable of producing landmines: 13

Number of countries confirmed to have traded or exported landmines in 2005: 0

Number of countries participating in the antipersonnel mine-ban treaty: 149

Landmines still stockpiled worldwide: 167 million

Number of countries reporting new victims of landmines and explosive remnants of war in 2004-2005: 58

Estimated number of new casualties each year: 15,000 to 20,000

International funding for mine action in 2004: $399 million

World’s top donor for mine action in 2004: USA ($96.5 million)

Country receiving the largest amount of mine action funding in 2004: Afghanistan ($91.8 million)

Number of countries where mine risk education services were provided in 2004-2005: 61 

March 2006
The Ministry of Defence’s Technology Centre on Unexploded Ordnance and Landmine Disposal (BOMICO)
Landmines monitor, 2004
The Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), December 2000
Landmine Monitor Report 2005, International Campaign to Ban Landmines

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