AfghanistanICRC Mine Data Collection Programme - Details
Afghanistan is one of the most heavily mine and UXO affected countries in the world , large numbers of land mines and UXO or abandoned ammunition are scattered around, hindering economic development and posing a serious threat to the livelihood of its inhabitants.
In 1998, in order to get a better understanding of the mine and UXO problem, and to use this knowledge to help prevent accidents and to assist the victims, the ICRC started to collect data on mine/UXO (unexploded ordnance) casualties in 36 ICRC supported health facilities all over Afghanistan. This data is shared with the UN Mine Action Programme (MAPA), which gets over 70% of its data on new victims from ICRC. The information collected (e.g. dangerous areas, victim behaviours, type of injuries and the medical treatment received etc.) is used to set priorities in surveying, demining, mine awareness training, and for victim assistance in Afghanistan.
In 2000, 1'114 new mine and UXO victims suffering amputations, severe injuries or blindness were interviewed in ICRC supported and non supported clinics and hospitals. However, this figure does not generally include people who died or sustained light injuries.
Number of victims for each type of device (April1998 - December 2000)
In order to improve this data collection system, co-operation with the following organisations was initiated: Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS), Aide Médicale Internationale (AMI), HealthNet, Ibn Sina, Norwegian Afghanistan Committee (NAC) and Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA). All together they support over 280 hospitals and clinics, where they interview the victims. The ICRC also developed further its Mine Victim Data Collection Programme by training more staff (3 local staff in Kabul and 6 regional field officers) and by improving the existing database.
The range of activities include the following: interviewing mine and UXO victims in hospitals and clinics, conducting training courses on data collection for medical staff and provincial supervisors of partner organisations, and managing the database (containing over 2,500 victims at the present time), to produce data analysis'and reporting.
Risk taking: Unfortunately, many people go to known and even marked mined areas, to collect wood, tend animals, during travelling or because of carelessness.
Interaction with device: Most mine victims didn't see the mine before their accident, but some children and Kuchis touched them. For UXO, the percentage of people who interacted is even worse, except for women, who are usually injured as bystanders.
While most mine victims are men injured during fighting or travelling, the bigger threat to the livelihood of civilians are UXOs, especially children. All in all, UXOs account to about half of the recorded accidents. Even with 6.5 million Afghans trained in mine awareness by UN/MA PA, dangerous behaviour persists and only 5% of the victims claim to have received a briefing. While it is estimated that high priority areas (towns, villages, roads, irrigation and agricultural areas) could be cleared within the next 7 to 10 years, victim assistance will be a major issue for several decades.
Percentage of victims who touched the device, '98-2000
Boys - 18
Mine and UXO victims interviewed
Boys - 17
Girls - 17