Mines Awareness Trust - April, 2004

The killer that keeps on killing…

Once the fighting was over, the Johnson family returned to their African village, never suspecting that horror still lurked in its shadows.

While the parents set their hand to reconstructing their home, the little ones ran off to play.

Everything seemed bright with hope and none of the five children thought twice about gathering around"a little bell"they found in the nearby foliage. It was no bigger than a battery and quite unlike anything they had ever seen. In military language, that little bell was an M79. It was a little bomblet, small enough to appear innocuous to the untrained eye, but horrifyingly efficient in execution of its task. A few devastating seconds after finding it, three of the Johnson’s five children were dead and the other two maimed for life. To this day, photos reflect the eyes of their parents, haunting, and haunted. They not only mourn the three they lost, but must now find ways to meet the special needs of the two they still have.

Landmines are killers that keep on killing long after the soldiers have gone home.

Every 20 minutes, someone, somewhere in the world steps on a landmine. That’s the reported story, at least, but MAT indicates the real situation may be much worse. As many as 40% of land mine victims may go unreported, they say. Every 20 minutes, someone, somewhere in the world steps on a landmine.

Deadly simple arithmetic

There are about 100 million land mines world-wide. It will cost US$50 billion to remove them. One would need to multiply both figures by 15 to remove ordinance as well. Current estimates say it costs $3 to produce a mine and up to $2,000 to clear it.

If no one laid another landmine, it would take 1,000 years to do the job, working at full capacity, 7 days a week, with all the assets currently available worldwide. Some countries have not, however, stopped laying mines. In fact, they are laid much faster than our globe can keep up with.
  • 2-3 million are laid per year
  • 300,000 – 700,000 are cleared

It’s deadly simple arithmetic.

Mines Awareness Trust

What does MAT do? Started by former soldier, Ben Remfrey, MAT can assist international organisations and countries by providing:

  • Mines Risk Education (MRE) to at risk communities worldwide
  • Victim or survivor assistance projects
  • Dedicated mine action surveys
  • Route clearance and proving
  • EOD (explosive ordnance disposal), BAC (Battle Area Clearance) and de-mining services
  • Security briefings and services
MAT has joined Global Hand because it is interested in freighting cargo to communities reconstructing in a post conflict scenario. If you would like to partner with MAT or use its services, contact may be made in the following ways.

MAT’s website: www.minesawareness.org

Email Ben Remfrey at info@minesawareness.org