Floods increasing landmine risk in Pakistan: ICRC
Flood waters in Pakistan have dislodged and carried landmines to places previously deemed safe or demined, increasing risks to the population, the international Red Cross warned on Tuesday.
Since the beginning of the floods, "three children, a woman and a man have been severely injured" by landmines in disaster-hit regions, Luiza Khazhgerieva, an official from the International Committee of the Red Cross, told AFP.
"Mines and unexploded ordnance could have been easily moved by water from the original places," she noted.
The ICRC has in recent weeks documented incidents of explosions in areas previously deemed to be free of landmines.
In one instance, a woman's leg was blown off after she stepped on a mine while collecting firewood in places she used to frequent before the flood.
In another incident, a refugee in Kashmir was hurt by a mine while cutting grass to feed his cattle.
"This incident occurred in the area which is far away from places where incidents have been reported in the past," said Khazhgerieva, who did not have figures on the number of unexploded ordnance in Pakistan.
In addition, two anti-personnel mines and a grenade were found in the pools of stagnant water and defused by the bomb disposal squad in Dera Ismail Kahn, south of Peshawar, said the aid official.
"Big explosions have been seen by local people in moving flood water there," she noted, adding that this could be due to an explosive colliding with a hard surface.
The aid agency has stepped up a campaign to remind the population of the dangers of landmines.
© 2010 AFP