Half of last year's landmine victims were children, with highest number in Syria

Latest Landmine Monitor report shows horrific statistics for 2022

Almost 5,000 people were killed or injured by landmines in 2022, it was found. AP
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Almost half of the civilians killed and injured by landmines last year were children, with the highest number in Syria followed by Ukraine and Yemen.

The latest Landmine Monitor report published on Tuesday reveals at least 4,710 casualties of mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) were recorded last year, with 1,661 killed and 3,015 injured.

It says civilians made up 85 per cent of all recorded casualties, where the military or civilian status was known (4,341).

Children accounted for almost half (49 per cent, or 1,171) of civilian casualties, where age was recorded.

The highest number of casualties was in Syria (834) for the third consecutive year and Ukraine recorded the second highest total (608), a ten-fold increase on the previous year.

Yemen and Myanmar each recorded more than 500 casualties last year.

"The devastating and disproportionate impact of mines and ERW on civilians is again reflected in the Monitor casualty statistics for 2022," the report said.

"Children made up almost half (49 per cent) of civilian casualties and just over one-third (35 per cent) of all casualties in 2022, where the age group was known.

"In 2022, as in previous years, the vast majority of child casualties were boys (79 per cent) where the gender was recorded. ERW remained the item causing most child casualties (518, or 44 per cent), followed by improvised mines (223, or 19 per cent).

"Children made up three quarters (518, or 66 per cent) of ERW casualties. Men and boys accounted for the majority of casualties in 2022, accounting for 2,095 (or 84 per cent) where the sex was known (2,499). Women and girls accounted for 404 casualties (or 16 per cent)."

It has warned that casualties in Ukraine are expected to rise significantly in results for 2023.

The report reveals that despite an increase in the number of landmines cleared, victims' care remains underfunded.

In 2022, global support for mine action totalled $913.5 million, representing a year-on-year increase of 52 per cent ($314.5 million). Of this, $162.3 million went to activities in Ukraine.

Last year, Saudi Arabia entered the list of top 15 donors who have jointly provided 97 per cent of all international mine action funding, totalling $774.9 million.

However, the UK significantly reduced the amount of funding it has provided.

"The United States remained the largest mine action donor, followed by the European Union, with both significantly increasing their contributions in 2022," the report said.

"Some traditionally strong mine action funders reduced their contributions, notably the United Kingdom, which decreased spending in 2022 by 35 per cent from its 2021 contribution."

Half of all victim assistance support went to three states – Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen – but the report warned they were not receiving the help they need.

"In 2022, healthcare and rehabilitation services remained underfunded and faced increasing and multiple challenges in many states, including accessibility, expertise and supply of materials," it said.

"Several States Parties with significant numbers of mine victims in need of assistance experienced massive disruption – and in some cases damage and destruction – to their healthcare systems in 2022, including Afghanistan, Sudan, Ukraine and Yemen.

"Despite progress in integrating physical rehabilitation into national healthcare systems in some states, improving the sustainability of services, Monitor findings indicate that rehabilitation has not been a priority in many affected States Parties.

"Major gaps remain in access to economic opportunities for mine and ERW survivors in many of the States Parties where livelihood support was most needed."

It says of the 164 states under the Mine Ban Treaty, 94 have officially completed destruction of their stocks of antipersonnel mines, with a total of 55 million landmines destroyed. Sri Lanka was the last to destroy its stocks, in October 2021.

"States Parties reported clearing a total of 219.31km² of contaminated land in 2022, resulting in the destruction of 169,276 antipersonnel landmines," it said.

"This represents an increase on clearance reported in 2021, when 132.52km² of land was cleared and 117,847 mines were destroyed. Cambodia and Croatia reported the largest clearance totals in 2022, clearing a combined total of more than 128.67km² of land and destroying 14,815 antipersonnel mines."

Updated: November 26, 2023, 8:33 AM