Bosnia: "The Situation is Terrible"

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Handicap International will launch activities in Bosnia to prevent new accidents from mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) that shifted in recent flooding and as a result of more than 3,000 landslides.

Working in partnership with a local association in Bosnia, Handicap International will teach civilians about the risks posed by landmines and ERW—mainly how to spot and avoid these deadly devices. Handicap International will also provide materials to support the Mine Action Center in Bosnia Herzegovina as it begins to map where mines and ERW have appeared after the flooding.

Coordinating this life-saving work are two Handicap International staff members with extensive experience in Bosnia. Goran is the former project manager of mine risk education for Handicap International Bosnia. Nina is the organization’s roving administrator for the mine action department.

“The situation is terrible,” Alma reports. “After the water subsides, people will live in a constant threat due to landmines and ERW. People are scared that they will never return to the normal life they had. We need you to help them.

Soldiers planted more than 1 million landmines during the civil war in Bosnia between 1992 and 1995. Since then, landmines and ERW have killed or injured more than 8,000 people. Clearance teams, including Handicap International deminers, removed the majority of those mines. Up until the floods, most of the remaining 120,000 landmines lay within carefully marked mine fields. Now, however, people living in the affected communities do not know which areas are safe and which are not.

Previously, Handicap International worked in Bosnia from 1997 to 2012, to reduce the impact of mines and ERW. The association has implemented a range of activities including mine clearance and mine risk education. This work allowed nearly 100,000 people to rebuild the social and economic fabric of their towns and villages.