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Landmines: Frequently asked questions

28-11-2002

How many mines are there in the world? - Who is most affected by the landmines?

 How many mines are there in the world?  

 
 
 

The ICRC cannot answer this question in a simple, straightforward way because, in most conflicts, mines have not been marked or recorded by the warring parties.
 
Another reason is that casualty figures are sometimes inflated, mainly because there is no proper data collection system. The figures collected are generally based on reported mine injuries.
 
In most countries where the ICRC and national Red Cross or Red Crescent societies have developed mine/UXO awareness programmes, data collection systems have been set up and adapted to local needs.
 
The UN estimated there were 120 million landmines worldwide at the time of the campaign to ban landmines in 1995. The ICRC does not confirm this figure or any other.

More important than the number of mines is their location and more specifically whether they are in populated areas or not. For example, 10 million landmines in the Egyptian desert probably have less effect than 50 mines in a city like Sarajevo.

 
 
 

 Who is most affected by the landmines?  

From the data collected where the ICRC and National Societies have set up a data collection system, it is clear that the group most at risk is men aged between 20 and 45 years (they carry out outdoors activities). One excepti on howeveris Afghanistan where half of the victims are children under 18.
 
Female victims represent between 5 and 10% of casualties, reaching a high of 20% in Angola.