Life in a minefield... One million land mines and 30 million explosive devices in Yemen

Life in a minefield... One million land mines and 30 million explosive devices in Yemen

On world Mine Awareness Day on April 4, two men and one woman were killed by a landmine planted by the Houthis in the Tahita district, south of the coastal city of Hodeidah (western Yemen).

Al-Masdar online quoted local sources as saying that the mine exploded while a motorcycle carrying two men and a woman was passing on a sub-road in the "mountainous " area of the Al-Tahita district under the control of the joint forces, and that the explosion killed them immediately.

The sources indicated that the area's farms, roads and facilities were planted with mines, which had been heavily deployed by Houthi militias before being forced to withdraw from the area. Mine explosions were repeated occasionally and victims were killed on a weekly basis.

The  conflict statements and the armed event project ACLED, confirmed the end of last March, that data. between January and May last year, it is reported that mines planted by the Houthis killed an average of three civilians per month in al-Hodeidah Governorate.

The Houthi group planted tens of thousands of mines across the country, trying to stop the progress of government forces, and turned Yemen into a minefield and the world's largest mined country since World War II.

The al-Houthi mines produced scores of dead and hundreds of disabled people with catastrophic repercussions on the economy, agriculture, grazing and environmental impacts, as well as the huge material cost of their removal.

The number of mines planted by the Houthis in four years is estimated to be about 1 million, according to the MASAM Mine Clearance Center, the center said in a report released in early March:  "With material and technical support from Iran, the Houthis have repeatedly violated UN rules since 2015, distributing Up to 1 million land and sea mines throughout the country  ".

According to the report, which was read by al-Masdar online, the Houthi mines killed more than 1539 people and injured more than 3,000.

According to the conflict and armed incident project statements (ACLED), at least 267 civilian deaths were recorded in 140 reported incidents attributed to mines planted by the Houthis and improvised packaging’s since 2016

But the Saudi MASAM project said that at least 920 civilians have been killed, along with thousands of wounded and disabled, since 2014.

The conflict and armed incident project statements estimate that Yemen is threatened with some 30 million explosive remnants of the Houthis as well as the landmine catastrophe.

In addition to exacerbate insecurity, the rampant use of explosive devices also weakens economic activity.

Landmines deployed in grazing land often affect farmers and animals, which are the main source of livelihood for many families in rural areas, according to MASAM December 2018 project report.

According to the MASAM report:  "The Houthis planted naval mines threatening merchant ships and fishermen, and the naval mines killed at least thirteen fishermen off the coast of Hodeidah since last July."

A human rights report of the Yemeni Alliance for monitoring of violations (Monitoring coalition), which was presented at a seminar held in Geneva, said Yemen became the largest mined country after World War II because of the mines planted by the al-Houthi group.

The report confirmed that more than 1 million mines have been planted in various governorates, including anti-personnel, anti-vehicle, anti-tank, naval and Marine mines from 2014 to 2018.

The effects of mines are not limited to killing lives and injuring hundreds of people with disabilities. It strikes different aspects of life, affecting economic activity, grazing, livestock and fishing, and disrupting the livelihoods of hundreds of citizens.

Economists assert that minefields are directly reflected in the national economy and cause a increase of poverty rates.

The mines leave thousands of people with disabilities and those with permanent disabilities that make it difficult for them to engage in any future economic activity and become dependent on their families, researcher and economist Hossam Al-Saidi said.

Al-Saidi told "Al-Masdar online" that the Houthis had planted mines on farms, especially in Hodeidah, which threatened future farm work, as well as mines planted on beaches and marine mines, as they threatened maritime navigation and also threatened fishermen. The Houthis are planting mines on the main roads and their edges, and this would also threaten the traffic between cities and directorates, especially in the areas of clashes “.

The cost of mines is a high human and economic cost, and the implementation of mine clearance and disposal programmes requires a long period of time and high costs, Al-Saidi said.


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