Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Watch your step!

Can you remember your parent telling you to “look both ways before crossing the street,” or remember those caution signs telling you to “watch your step”? For children living in Sarajevo, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, taking safety precautions when walking to school was not enough to protect them from landmines that remained following the conflict in the 1990s. Since 1996, over 1,500 people have been killed or maimed as a result of landmines.

In order to prevent further deaths as a result of landmine detonation, Bosnia and Herzegovina have acquired two new mine clearing machines to clear up to one million landmines. Each machine is valued at $600,000.

Since 2003, the UNDP has worked with a mine awareness project that includes mine clearing training, education projects on mine risks, technical expertise and funds for mine clearance equipment. UNDP’s work has drastically reduced the number of children hurt by mines. UNDP is also working to create economic opportunities away from mine locations so that the risk of being injured is also decreased.

To find out more about UNDP’s commitment to mine removal, click here. Also be sure to check out International Mine Awareness and Assistance Day on April 4, a day the United Nations has dedicated to raising awareness of the global hazards of landmines.