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Croatia: surviving the peace

12-02-1997 News Release 97/06

Last week, in several Croatian villages near the former front lines, the ICRC launched the third phase of its first-ever campaign to raise awareness of mines among affected populations. Since the beginning of the campaign in the country, the aim has been to reduce the danger presented by an estimated 3 million live mines and some 150,000 additional explosive devices that remain in the ground. Other hidden weapons and ammunition depots left behind following various offensives also constitute a serious problem.

This type of danger is especially acute in post-war periods, when people begin to cross former front lines and enter unmarked minefields, and when children at play discover abandoned weapons and ammunition. Over the past three years in Croatia, some 300 children have been killed by mines and more than 900 amputations have been performed on mine victims. In a country where unexploded devices from the Second World War are still being found, specialists believe that the problem will continue to exist for at least 20 more years. 

The mine-awareness campaign in Croatia is being conducted with the help of volunteers from the Croatian Red Cross, 83 of whom were trained by an ICRC mine expert during the second phase of the project. During the current phase, these trained volunteers will run seminars in their communities. Moreover, in order to reach as many people as possible, a new series of TV and radio spots and press advertisements is being launched, and posters are being printed and put up in schools and other public places.