Although a lot of effort and progress have been made globally by Danish Demining Group (DDG) and other organisations to clear mines and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW), these weapons still have a significant impact on civilians and communities around the world. Whether there is one or a thousand mines in a minefield is of little importance – the fear of the presence of mines, and of injury and death, can be equally inhibiting for use of the land. It takes time and resources to locate and destroy mines and ERW, however it can be done efficiently and effectively. And it matters.
Many minefields and battlefields are unmarked, and continue to cause injuries and death among civilian populations, even years after a conflict has ceased. The actual presence or the fear of the presence of mines and ERW often blocks valuable agricultural land from being used for farming or grazing. This has an impact not just on the farmers, but on the wider community, as food and animal production is reduced. People need to rely on food imports from other areas, which tends to be more expensive and harmful for familie's income. The economic health of a community is also negatively impacted, as it is reliant on outside support for basic needs and purchasing power is reduced.
Mines and ERW also harm animals, such as cows, sheep, and camels, which can have a significant economic impact on families that rely on animal husbandry for their livelihoods. When a person has a mine or ERW accident, it affects not just them, but also their family and community as it impacts on their ability to provide an income. The treatment of mine and ERW accident survivors requires resources from healthcare systems that are often already overstretched.
Mines and ERW not only directly harms people and animals, but also often have an impact on overall humanitarian access. A road network which is mined, or a compound which has been bombed can make access for humanitarian organisations impossible.
Furthermore, when a community’s infrastructure, such as schools and healthcare centers, are not rebuilt due to the presence of mines and ERW, people who have been displaced by conflict from the community are less likely to return. This often forces them to live for long periods in camps or urban slum areas in and around large cities, in very difficult conditions. The long-term effect of this is that established social structures deteriorate, and the pressures on urban areas increase causing further tension and conflict.