Landmines are small, usually round devices designed to injure or kill people by an explosive blast or flying fragments. Most mines are made of plastic and contain about the same amount of metal as the spring in a ballpoint pen making metal detectors almost useless.
The development of the anti-tank mine was spurred by the use of battle tanks during World War I. Anti-personnel mines were developed to replace these larger mines that could easily be removed by enemy soldiers.
The development and use of the landmines we know today became a major military strategy between 1918 and 1939. At this time, mines were used in a controlled manner and specifically targeted at soldiers. It wasn’t until the 1960s that the random distribution of landmines began.
Today, there are still tens of millions of anti-personnel mines in the ground and stockpiled in over 60 countries.
How are they triggered?
It takes only a tiny amount of pressure to detonate a landmine.
They are indiscriminate killers that can’t tell the difference between the boot of a soldier and the barefoot of a child.
Do demining programs work?
Mine action operations have resulted in the destruction of more than 2.2 million antipersonnel mines, 250,000 anti-vehicle mines, and 17 million explosive remnants of war (ERW). At the same time there are new mines laid every single day.