Kyiv (ICRC) – Today, the world marks the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. In Ukraine, only last year there was over one hundred civilian mine victims. Mines are planted in a very close proximity of the crossing points in the East of Ukraine used by 30 to 40 thousand people every day.
The ICRC and the other international and national organizations and institutions are working on prevention as well as on minimizing the threat that the mines pose to people’s lives. The aim is to remind civilians that mines and other Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) do not choose and are not discriminating against their targets.
“Eastern Ukraine is one of the most mine-contaminated areas in the world. Presence of mines and ERW in the area threatens the lives of millions of civilians. It disrupts daily life, and hampers travelling between villages and towns, collecting firewood, farming and playing outside,” says Florence Gillette, the Head of the ICRC Delegation in Ukraine.
Aiming at decreasing the threats and the number of incidents related to mines/ERW, the ICRC provides life-saving training and first aid kits as well as marking signs to the relevant demining structures. It also supports the authorities in the development of a legal framework addressing the risk of mines, including in the implementation of legislation and regulations on mine action.
“Preventing civilian casualties and negative consequences of mines and ERW on both sides of the contact line is not only a legal obligation and humanitarian task of the organizations and institutions concerned, but should also be taken as a common imperative,” says Florence Gillette.
The ICRC gives special attention to children, as their curiosity unfortunately makes them likely victims of explosive incidents. Hence, about 12,000 children on both sides of the contact line learned about mine/ERW risks and safer behaviour during thematic theatre performances in 2018.
The International Committee of the Red Cross organizes events in Donetsk, Luhansk/Lugansk, Mariupol, Sloviansk and Sievierodonetsk to raise awareness of the risks posed by mines and explosive remnants of war and mitigate those risks by encouraging safer behavior in communities exposed to the dangers of explosive and weapon related hazards.
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