The issue of landmines is not one that has particularly ever caught my attention until recently as I’ve started reading up more and more on the subject in the past six months or so. To be honest I was actually inspired by an article written by our own Oula Farawati, entitled Dangerous Soils, that was very revealing. I think what appealed to me in the article and put the whole issue on my radar was its Jordanian context.
Here are some facts: 40,000 square meters in Jordan are still plagued with approximately 200,000 landmines. Over the years, landmines are believed to have killed and injured more than 800 people. 10% Of Jordanian land is still plagued with anti-personnel and anti-vehicle landmines. Official numbers say 539 people have had landmines accidents, 113 of whom have died.
According to the 2006 report from the Landmine monitor the number is likely to be higher than that: 700-800 since 1993.
There is a plan, in fact a declared policy coupled with an obligatory deadline, to make Jordan a landmine free country by 2009, making it the first Arab country to be so. But while the demining effort is being made it’s still moving at a pace that is too slow to meet the 2009 deadline. The biggest problem being cost and funding.
I think this has become an issue that Jordanians should be paying more attention to, including myself. Too many lives have been taken and families changed forever over a hazard that is avoidable. In any case, I hope to follow the issue more closely from now on making this the first of many future posts. Hopefully those posts will have something positive to report.
Also: Read Lubna’s post on the issue.