YEREVAN, March 23, 2006 (AFP) - Some 102 mine fields dot Armenia’s eastern regions near the border with Azerbaijan, endangering local inhabitants, UN officials said after examining the area.
The landmine-littered areas, which had already killed over 160 people and injured over 230 more, contaminate some 320 square kilometers and have a negative impact on the lives of over 69,000 locals, the UN de-mining project’s press release said.
"We are now seeking international donors for de-mining all over the country. It is an expensive program, it takes seven dollars to de-mine one square meter. If we get the required means, the program may be complete in five years," the project's spokeswoman Anush Arutyunyan said.
The landmines in south Armenia had been installed as part of defenses during a military conflict over Azerbaijan's mostly-Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The two sides fought a war in the early 1990s over the territory, leaving some 30,000 people dead and forcing about a million people to flee their homes.