At UN, groups cite gains against land mine deaths

November 24, 2010 14:32

GENEVA — Advocacy groups said at least 3,956 people died last year because they stepped on a land mine or other unexploded devices left behind in war, the lowest number since counting began nearly a dozen years ago.

The report issued Wednesday at the United Nations by Mines Action Canada, Human Rights Watch and other groups cited the casualty rate and record amount of contaminated land cleared of mines as major progress toward a land mine-free world.It said an area of about 76 square miles (198 square kilometers) was cleared of land mines in 2009 in a nearly $500 million effort, and 138 square miles (359 square kilometers) of former war zones were cleared of other unexploded devices.

Eighty percent of the cleared areas were in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Croatia, Iraq and Sri Lanka.

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