UN Calls on WHO to Help Egyptian Landmine Victims
The UN has called on the World Health Organization (WHO) and other UN agencies to help Egyptian victims of anti-personnel mines, reported Egypt Online.
The call was made by UN Development Program (UNDP) Assistant Representative Amin Sharqawi at a seminar on demining and developing Egypt's northern coast.
The seminar was in preparation for the Third United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries.
"The Egyptian government and UN should work out a strategy to promote the international community's awareness of the seriousness of the 50-year-old mine problem in Egypt," the report said, cited by the news service.
The report noted that the "Health Ministry and the Egyptian Red Crescent are capable of offering assistance to land mine victims in Egypt."
There are about 100 million mines laid in more than 70 countries around the world.
About 26,000 people are killed annually in mine incidents, according to world statistics.
"The Middle East and North African are by far the worst hit regions in the world," an official said.
Egypt's problem stems from the fact that its landmines are old and hard to locate, and were designed for use against tanks, whereas international criticism is generally focused on anti-personnel mines, previous reports have said.
According to Egypt's Ministry of Defense, mines have hampered human and economic development, and have killed or injured thousands of civilians.
Egypt's western desert, scene of one of the major Second World War battles, El Alamein, was littered with 20 million mines by the German and British armies.
Egypt and Israel have mounted joint efforts to remove more than 6 million mines planted in the Sinai desert and the region of the Gulf of Suez during the wars in 1967 and 1973.
Military analysts have said that storms have increased the depth at which many land mines are buried by eight meters, thus ruling out the use of normal mine-detection methods - Albawaba.com
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