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SocioEconomic Consequences of Landmines

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When surface transportation is hampered, farmers can no longer transit their produce to marketplaces. This results in inflation and soaring of commodity prices. Mined roads make the effects of famine and drought more severe by hampering food relief and restricting the movement of supplies.Disastrous results follow when mines are embedded in fertile agricultural lands. For example, in Zimbabwe diseases are rampant and thousands of cattle are infected with foot and mouth disease. The total livestock casualties since 1980 had reached a whopping nine thousand – worth 15 million Zimbabwean dollars. Add to this, the loss of herdsmen’s limbs and lives – it paints a distressing picture. In Mupa National Park in Angola, for instance, landmines are used by poachers that have virtually wiped out the elephant population there. There is a similar concern in Zimbabwe, where buffaloes and other endangered wildlife are often the victims of landmines (Giannou 1997).Large numbers of people are forced to migrate to other regions, which leads to problems of overcrowding and the overall degradation of the environment. This in turn leads to increased susceptibility to infectious diseases among the refugees. A recent report indicates that as many as eighty-eight nations were found to be affected to some degree by landmines and unexploded ordnances.Children are the most vulnerable group to fall victim to landmines, as they are too young to read or interpret warning signs. Also, due to their weak constitution, they are far more susceptible to succumb to injuries than adults. Moreover, they will have to constantly keep changing their prosthetic limbs as their stunted limbs keep growing.The 1997 Mine Ban Treaty was a significant step forward toward worldwide eradication of anti-personnel mines. The Landmine Monitor Report of the year 2000 indicates that nearly three in four countries in the world have signed and/or ratified the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty.