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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 September 2006, 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK
Record area cleared of landmines
Child with prosthetic limb in Afghanistan (archive photo)
Many victims of landmines are children
A greater area was cleared of landmines last year than ever before, according to a new report from a group that monitors the use of the weapons.

But the International Campaign to Ban Landmines warned that a funding shortfall could lead to fewer clearance operations in the future.

And despite the success in 2005, casualties from mines rose by 11% to more than 7,000.

Since 1997, 151 countries have joined a treaty banning the use of landmines.

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) said that 740 sq km (286 sq miles) of land - an area the size of New York City - had been demined.

Funding needed

More than four million landmines and other explosive devices were removed and destroyed.

"Record demining was reported in 2005," said Stuart Maslen, one of the report's editors. "But landmines remain in over 78 countries and seven territories."

He said funding would need to be sustained if progress was to be made in eradicating landmines and meeting the needs of the growing number of survivors of mine explosions.

Fifty-eight countries reported new casualties last year, including around 2,000 deaths.

The ICBL believes that reported casualties are less than half of the actual number.

Almost all of the victims were civilians, many of them children.

The increase is attributed to intensified conflict in countries such as Burma, India, Nepal and Pakistan.

Landmines in numbers - 2005
Man in Sudan fits prosthetic limb (archive photo)
740 sq km cleared
470,000 landmines removed and destroyed
3.75 million explosive devices removed and destroyed
7,328 casualties recorded in 58 countries
1,100 - highest number of casualties in one country - Colombia
80% of casualties were civilians
Landmines in 78 countries and seven territories
151 members of 1997 treaty banning landmines
40 countries remain outside of treaty

Source: ICBL

The report found that three governments are still using landmines: Burma, Nepal and Russia, with Burma planting the most mines in its campaign against rebel groups.

Major donors such as the European Union and the United States reduced their funding last year.

The total amount available in 2005 for landmine clearing, stockpile destruction, mine risk education and survivor assistance was cut nearly 6% to $376.

The ICBL monitors use and production of landmines around the world and issues annual reports.

The group scrutinises implementation and compliance with the 1997 Ottawa mine ban treaty.

One-hundred-and-fifty-one countries have joined the landmark treaty, but 40 remain outside it including China, Russia, Israel and the US.

UN marks landmine awareness day
04 Apr 06 |  Americas
Healing Afghanistan's war scars
08 Jun 05 |  South Asia

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