Bosnian Flood Landmine Danger Reveals Need for Reinvigorated Demining Effort

To answer all the queries I’ve been getting about the tragic situation in Bosnia with the massive flooding, I wrote this piece for the blog of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines:

Landmine and Cluster Munition Blog

Dr. Matthew Bolton Assistant Professor of Political Science, Pace University, and Landmine Monitor Researcher

Over the last few days, I have been getting many questions from journalists and friends alike about the reports of the Bosnian floods possibly dislodging landmines.

I think this surprises people, perhaps because their conception of a minefield comes from computer game “Minesweeper,” in which a mine stays put until someone clears it. However, landmines are laid within a dynamic ecosystem. If they are buried, they can shift positions as soil freezes and unfreezes with the seasons. Soil erosion may expose a mine. Floods like those that have recently hit the Balkans can dislodge mines and wash them into new places.

The mine problem in Bosnia dates back to the war in the early 1990s. While many mined areas have been cleared since then, there are still an estimated 1,219km2 of land suspected to…

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~ by Matthew Bolton on 22 May 2014.

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