Refugees have to trek through an area full of landmines in Croatia

Author: hvg.hu Original title: Elaknásított vidéken kell átgázolniuk a menekülteknek Horvátországban
Publication: hvg.hu Date: 16:23 15/09/2015

Refugees have to trek through an area full of landmines in Croatia

In Croatia there might be more than 50,000 landmines in an area of 505 square kilometres. One of the most dangerous zones is near the Serbian border, exactly where the refugees will have to make their way. In that area it is not always a good idea to leave the road. It is especially true in the case of Bosnia. Volunteers should maybe write warnings in Arabic, Farsi, Pashto and Urdu languages.

Refugees are facing huge danger if they decide to turn towards Croatia in order to avoid the closed border of Hungary and if they leave the road (which is a frequent choice of illegal migrants). Namely they have to go through areas full of landmines, and there are a lot of such areas in Croatia, one of the most dangerous ones being just near the Croatian-Serbian border: see pictures in the original Hungarian Article. 

In Croatia, there are a lot of areas suspected to have mines dating from the Yugoslav wars in the 1990’s. These are being progressively cleared up, but according to the Croatian Mine Action Centre (CROMAC) (link) in 2014 there were still 505 square kilometres which could possibly have landmines or other explosives. This problem affects 10 counties and 77 towns where, according to CROMAC’s estimations, there are 50,966 mines.

Volunteers helping the refugees should at least make written warnings in Arabic, Farsi, Pashto and Urdu languages. In the country, more than twelve thousand signs warn people about landmines, but all these are in Croatian, except for the English word ’mine’. However, a lot of refugees do not speak English, so even if there is an internationally known sign of danger on the boards, i.e. a skull and crossbones, it is not certain they will understand.

Those who try a short cut through Bosnia and Herzegovina do not have a better chance, because there are even more mines: see pictures in the original Hungarian Article. 

According to BH MAC, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s mine clearing body (link), the areas suspected of being mined cover 1,176 square kilometres, which is equal to 20% of the whole country. BH MAC recorded more than 19,000 landmines and they still another 120 thousand mines and explosives to find.

However, Bosnian mine warnings are not particularly informative either – see pictures in the original Hungarian Article. 

*

 UPDATE:

16th September, 2015: Thanks to Budapest-Bamako SOS Refugee Group we now have multi-lingual information available.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s