(AFP) – Dec 9, 2010
LUANDA — The number of people killed by landmines in Angola in 2010 almost tripled as funding for demining activities plummeted in the world's third most mined country, the HALO Trust said on Thursday.
"Funding has declined by 50 percent since 2008. There were 80 victims of mining accidents in 2010, compared to 28 in 2009," said Jose Pedro Agostinho, assistant director of the British non-profit organisation.
The HALO Trust has been operating in the five worst-mined Angolan provinces since the end of the near three-decade civil war that ended in 2002.
Financial difficulties have resulted in the closure of its operations in the southern district of Benguela, while 667 minefields still need to be swept.
Since the end of the war, the oil-rich country has embarked on a process of rebuilding infrastructure, and entrenching its position as Africa's top oil producer.
"The more they reopen the roads, the more people have access to remote areas," said Agostinho, suggesting the public was more likely to end up in mined locations.
"And then there are the refugees who come back from neighbouring countries and they are not aware of the danger zones," he added.
The exact number of landmines laid during the war is not known, in a country that is the most mined in the world after Afghanistan and Cambodia.
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