ad info

 
CNN.com   world > africa world map
    Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback  

 

  Search
 
 

 
WORLD
TOP STORIES

Thousands dead in India; quake toll rapidly rising

Israelis, Palestinians make final push before Israeli election

Gates pledges $100 million for AIDS

Davos protesters face tear gas

(MORE)

TOP STORIES

Thousands dead in India; quake toll rapidly rising

Israelis, Palestinians make final push before Israeli election

Davos protesters face tear gas

(MORE)

MARKETS
4:30pm ET, 4/16
144.70
8257.60
3.71
1394.72
10.90
879.91
 


U.S.

POLITICS

LAW

TECHNOLOGY

ENTERTAINMENT

HEALTH

TRAVEL

FOOD

ARTS & STYLE



(MORE HEADLINES)
*
 
CNN Websites
Networks image


Mozambique floods move deadly mines to unknown areas

Unexploded ordnance from civil war shifted downstream

March 14, 2000
Web posted at: 1:00 p.m. EST (1800 GMT)

MOAMBA, Mozambique (CNN) -- Wary rescuers kept an eye on the skies above southern Africa on Tuesday as they scurried to repair roads and deliver aid to the thousands of survivors who have been left homeless by a month-long flood.

But the potential of more devastating rains and flooding was not the only concern. Along with the cloudwatching, workers gingerly watched their steps for a legacy of Mozambique's 16-year civil war -- land mines, loosened from their known locations and moved who-knows-where by the deluge.

 VIDEO
VideoCNN's Charlayne Hunter-Gault reports on a new danger brought about by the floods: uprooted land mines.
Windows Media 28K 80K
 
  MESSAGE BOARD
 

The U.N.'s land-mine program considers Mozambique one of the most heavily mined locations in the world -- hundreds of thousands of men, women and children have been killed or maimed by the deadly bombs that hide just beneath the surface. Before the floods, an average of four people per month were killed in mine explosions.

So many mines were planted in the region that it's impossible to know just how many are still out there, even after the U.N.'s six-year program to get rid of them. And now the floods have moved them.

"No one can be sure of the numbers, but land mines may have been moved 10 or 20 kilometers (6 to 12 miles) downstream from mined areas that were located near river banks," said Emmanuel de Casterle, the United Nations Development Program's resident representative in Mozambique. "We have even had reports of fishermen catching land mines in their nets."

The mines also pose a problem to villagers making their way back to flooded farmlands -- and work crews trying to repair the damage caused by four weeks of relentless river overflow.

Land mine
Mozambique is one of the most heavily mined locations in the world, according to the United Nations  

Disease, hunger, and now explosions

Using former guerrillas from both sides of the conflict, the demining program in Mozambique had found and cleared more than 18,000 mines and other pieces of unexploded ordnance since it began surveying the area in 1994, two years after the bloody civil war ended. But the floods have been costly to the effort.

"We were beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel," said Jacky D'Almeida, director of Mozambique's demining program. "No one knows where the mines could be today. In some of the flooded areas, we will have to start all over again."

D'Almeida called the situation "a nightmare."

"We are going to hear about those mines in the next 10 days, in the next 10 years," he said. "You never know when you are going to stop hearing about those mines."

Mine
The demining program in Mozambique has cleared more than 18,000 mines and other unexploded ordnance since it began surveying in 1994  

Deminers, who had been focusing on clearing land for agricultural use, have switched their priorities toward making areas safe for repair crews trying to get electricity back into remote areas. The shift in focus has left farmers more vulnerable than ever.

Mozambique's government is urgently preparing pamphlets and other graphic information warning the public about the newly unleashed danger. But farmers desperate to replant crops washed away by the floods are not likely to heed the warnings, adding mines to an ever-growing list of dangers that already includes drowning, disease and hunger.



RELATED STORIES:
Mozambique president welcomes corporate aid for flood relief
March 14, 2000
Receding floodwaters reveal grim scene in southern Africa
March 13, 2000
Crops destroyed in Mozambique; outbreak of diseases feared
March 12, 2000
Flood relief work increased in Mozambique as weather clears
March 11, 2000
Aid groups, flood victims pray for end to rain in Mozambique
March 10, 2000
Annan: Mozambique floods wash away economic gains
March 7, 2000
Multinational force spreads across Mozambique
March 7, 2000

RELATED SITES:
ICBL - International Campaign to Ban Landmines
Mozambique
NOAA: Hurricanes, typhoons, and tropical cyclones
Madagascar On Line Magazine
Embassy of Madagascar in Washington D.C.


DISASTER RELIEF SITES:
Embassy of Mozambique
Fundraising campaign run by Embassy of Mozambique
USAFE Atlas Response Web Site
World Food Programme
Hunger Site - Donate Food for Free to Hungry People in the World
American Jewish World Service
American Red Cross
Catholic Relief Services
Lutheran World Relief
UNICEF USA Homepage
World Vision United States
Volunteers in Technical Assistance
CARE
Doctors Without Borders
Oxfam International
World Relief
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs



Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
 Search   

Back to the top  © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.