news 16 Jul 13

Mines Kill Over 500 in Croatia Since 1991

The Croatian Mine Action Centre, HCR, said that 509 people have been killed by mines since 1991 - 205 of them de-miners who were attempting to clear explosives.

Boris Pavelic
BIRN
Zagreb

HCR said that 666 square kilometres of Croatian territory was still contaminated with approximately 90,000 mines and explosive devices left over from the war in the 1990s.

As well as the hundreds killed by mines, a further 1,120 people have been badly wounded and 315 lightly injured.

However HCR has made significant progress in clearing unexploded devices since it started to operate in 1998, when about 13,000 square kilometres of Croatian territory were suspected to be contaminated by mines.

During the war in Croatia 1991-1995, both sides laid mines along the frontlines, often not making records of which territory had been mined.

When families started to return to their homes after the conflict ended, they often had to live on the edge of unmarked mined territory.

President Ivo Josipovic said earlier this year that mines left over from the 1990s war still posed a threat to the public, despite major efforts to clear the country of explosive devices.

“Unfortunately, the biggest problem is money and today we still have large areas infested with land mines but a great deal has been done and the results are obvious,” he said.

In an unusual project this year, researchers in Croatia attempted to train bees to use their sense of smell to find unexploded mines.

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