The Natural Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said on Sunday that due to budget constraints and the ongoing war in the country around 27 percent of affected areas have not yet been cleared of mines.
According to NDMA, the Mine Action Organization (MAO) has been plagued by a budget shortfall since 2011 which is holding them back from fully implementing their ten-year plan to defuse the remaining mines.
NDMA said that in the past eight months, on average around 140 people have been killed or injured in such explosions on a monthly basis.
“This year, Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan (MAPA) only received 36 percent of its required budget. Such programs rely on foreign aid and the lack of funds creates challenges in the way of implementing the ten-year plan of mine action in the country,” said Mohammad Aslam Sayas, acting director of NDMA.
Meanwhile, CEO Abdullah Abdullah said since 2011 the MAO has lost 40 percent of its staff due to budget constraints and that the undiffused mines pose a serious threat to Afghan civilians.
“Undiffused mines, in addition to being a threat to peoples’ lives, also prevents economic, development and livelihood activities,” said Nasrullah Arsalaie, general secretary of the Council of Ministers.
Deputy Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Mark Bowden, meanwhile said although MAPA and MAO have made valuable contributions, Afghans in many parts of the country are still at risk of falling victim to undiffused mines.
“By addressing 38 percent of the main contamination, more than 369 square kilometers of land is still contaminated with land mines and explosive remnants of war affecting 500,000 communities’ livelihood and security,” said Bowden.
The NDMA also said since 2010, nearly 1,621 MAO staff members have been targeted by insurgents of whom 88 were killed, 129 injured and 709 kidnapped and then released.