Prior to today, there has never been an official figure provided by a government of Myanmar regarding how many people are injured or killed by landmines during a year.

The figure provided by the Ministry of Health today is for deaths due to encounters with landmines, and covers the period from January 2015 to June 2016. Quoted in the government owned Global New Light of Myanmar states that 101 people had died as a result of antipersonnel landmine encounters in Myanmar in that 18 month time period.

The article states in the 18 month time period 74 deaths due to landmines occured in Kachin State, 14 in Shan State, 11 in Chin State, one each in Kayah and Rakhine State. It is not believed that this number includes military deaths.

The news report does not provide data on the number for people injured. The number injured will certainly be larger than the number of fatalities. During the past half decade, information recorded by the Landmine Monitor finds that the number of people killed by antipersonnel mines is less than a quarter of the number injured.

The article states that “The list of landmine fatalities is one compiled by the Ministry of Health from records sent by hospital across the country. The records of  landmine fatalities reportedly reveal the victims died as a result of the initial explosion as well as passing away from injuries sustained by pieces of shrapnel.”

The article quotes an IDP camp staff in Shan State as saying, “Internal displaced villagers dare not return home, despite that fact that fighting has subsided, because of the presence of landmines planted within their villages. This is compounded by the absence of mine clearing professionals.” Atleast 6 international mine clearance agencies have opened offices in Yangon, but have so far not received any permission from the authorities to pursue mine clearance tasks.