One in eight Children Killed in Landmine

Ukraine; Over 500 Children Killed or Injured in 500 days

One in eight killed or injured by landmines and unexploded ordnances is a child, said Save the Children on April 4, which marks International Day for Landmine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

In the analysis, the organization said that since war escalated in February last year, UN reported 758 verified casualties caused by remnants of war in Ukraine – of which nearly 12 per cent are children.

Noting that mine accidents are reported daily, Save the Children said that 126 verified casualties were reported over the last month and a half — or an average of three civilians killed or injured by explosive remnants of war per day.


Before the war erupted, Ukraine  was already one of the most mine-contaminated countries in the world. Since then, contaminated land has risen tenfold, taking up 30% of the land in the country, or around 180,00 square kilometres, an area twice the size of Portugal or equal to the state of Florida in the US.

Children in Ukraine are at increasing risk of treading on a landmine or picking up part of a munition, and therefore sustaining life-changing injuries or death.

As Spring weather is setting, melting snow and rains will expose buried landmines and fragments of unexploded shells and artillery. This lethal landscape will prove highly dangerous for children, who will spend more time outdoors. In February, 8 adolescents were wounded after a 16-year-old played with a mine on a bus-stop in Izyum.

“First of all, we have to convey to children that there are no safe explosive items. They are all dangerous, it is forbidden to approach them, to touch them. [We teach children] how to recognize contaminated area or a lone explosive, and what to do when they are spotted,” says Yevhen, the instructor for Ukrainian Deminers Association. “It is very important that they [children] live long and happily, and do not expose themselves to danger.”

Contaminated land also makes it difficult to move humanitarian supplies across land to families who need it most, and prevents people from fleeing on foot when fighting intensifies. Over 10 million people in Ukraine need help with mine services such as clearance and victim support, according to the UN’s Mine Action group.


Sonia Khush, Save the Children’s Ukraine Country Director, said:

“As spring draws near in Ukraine, it is shocking that children who should be playing and socialising safely outside are exposed to the constant, deadly threat. Whether it is an unexploded munition they might occasionally pick up and play, or a mine exploding beneath them – all of that may cause permanent, life-changing injuries, or death.

“Landmines do not discriminate between a child or a soldier – their use violates international law, poses a grave risk to children, and additionally hampers the ability to transport humanitarian aid to where it is needed most.”

Save the Children calls on all parties to refrain from the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas andtake stock of the impact on civilian populations in the planning and conduct of military activities. Mines and other explosive ordinances pose a serious risk to children and hamper possibilities of development of those mine affected areas.


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