Birjandi Motorcyclist Raises Awareness on Land Mines

Birjandi Motorcyclist Raises Awareness on Land Mines Birjandi Motorcyclist Raises Awareness on Land Mines

A Birjandi motorcyclist has entered Ramsar in Mazandaran Province after traveling 9000 kms carrying the slogan: “Mines, human and environment’s enemy.”

Seyyed Mahdi Hosseini who was born in 1980 in Birjand told IRNA that his aim is to draw attention to the dangerous consequences of land mines on humans and the environment in his 18,000 km-long journey across the country to create awareness on the issue.

Millions of mines, planted during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war litter the country’s border regions and still pose a threat to people’s lives in the western and southern areas. Annually hundreds of people are injured in explosions by undetected mines.  

“This long journey of 18,000 kms will take 6 months, during which I also plan to do some photography and environmental research,” he said.  His journey started on July 1 and will continue until January 1, 2015, which is the death anniversary of Seyyed Amir Talebipour, researcher, environmental expert and wildlife photographer in Birjand. ‘’I also plan photography of historical sites and ancient cities so as to publish a book of photographs titled ‘My Iran’. He said he also plans to address environmental challenges and problems faced by forest rangers.

Hosseini’s journey will take him through Tehran, Qom, Markazi, Kurdistan, West Azerbaijan, East Azerbaijan, Ardabil, Zanjan, Qazvin, Gilan, Mazandaran, Golestan and North Khorasan and Khorasan Razavi Provinces. “Mines are a big threat to humans and the environment and I will educate the local people and communities about its dangers,” he added.

 Mortality High

Different studies have indicated that Iran is one of the countries having the highest mortality and morbidity rates among land mine victims. According to a study conducted by the Imam Khomeini Hospital in western Ilam Province, between 1989 and 1999, more than 36.6% of all land mine victims had died of their injuries, says the Iranian Mine Victim Rescue Center (IMC).

The IMC has focused all efforts at reducing mortality rates among land mine victims in Mehran border area, since 2001, with the help of international organizations. Having a long border with Iraq, Mehran has the largest mine fields.

Mine - sweeping  and demarcation of mine fields are expensive and time - consuming procedures, requiring huge funding and sophisticated equipment, costing    between $300 – $1000 to clear a single mine.

Victims of mine explosion need treatment, but how to approach a mine victim in particular on the field, determines the odds of survival before getting to the nearest medical facility or hospital.

Indeed, the most advanced medical and surgical services available at hospitals are of minor use to land mine victims who suffer injuries in remote rural areas “because most of these victims have little or no chance to reach the hospital at all,” the IMC says.

 First Aid Important

The best way to cope with this problem “is to enhance first aid services rendered by people from all walks of life including peasants and nomads.” First helpers can learn very simple but life saving techniques and the IMC is providing special training courses to save land mine victims.

Iran has cleared 60 percent of the mines planted during the war years. But there are still 16 million mines along the Iraq border which cause over 300 casualties a year, even though the general location of the minefields is well known and many of the mines are in thinly populated areas. Iran is in the process of recruiting more mine clearing technicians to increase the rate at which all the old mines on the Iraqi border can be finally eliminated, reports say.

Landmines were outlawed by an international treaty in 1999, but most of the nations that rushed to sign up either didn’t have landmines or didn’t have any reason to use them.