Landmines continue to kill, maim people

Kathmandu, August 25:

The decade-long armed conflict in the country is still taking its toll, two years after declaration of ceasefire as several people still die or are maimed due to explosion of landmines and stray explosives.

Altogether 80 of the 357 victims of landmine explosions lost their lives in 2006. In the first six months of 2007, 12 of the 128 landmine blast victims lost their lives. Many of those who were lucky enough to survive the explosions are facing difficulty because they have been permanently disabled.

This year on April 14, Sunita Ghale, 21, of Ghermu, Lamjung, stepped on a landmine planted at Bhirpustung Repeater Tower at Lamjung and lost his right leg. “I was all set to go to South Korea. My visa had been issued, but now I have been left handicapped,” Sunita told this daily. Sunita was recently discharged from the Birendra Military Hospital at Chauni. “I don’t know where to go, what to do.”

There are hundreds of others who share Sunita’s plight and are forced to live handicapped.

“The Home Ministry has allocated some funds for the landmine victims, but most of the victims have said they have not received any support from anywhere,” said Purna Shova Chitrakar, coordinator, Ban Landmines Campaign. Chitrakar said landmines are found in 51 districts.