DAA News Network

MOZAMBIQUE: Little support for landmine victims

Posted 10/11-09 at 19.39

In Mozambique people injured by landmines face multiple barriers to rehabilitation and social inclusion. While there are 10 government-run orthopaedic centres, none are properly equipped. There is only one NGO (Mine Victim Assistance Network - RAVIM), run by landmine survivors to help other landmine survivors.

Even when assistance is offered, the harsh physical conditions reduce the practical value and lifespan of crutches, wheelchairs and other aids. Furthermore, spares are scare and there are few specialised repair workshops. Finally, those injured by landmines, as other disabled people, face intense discrimination, as well as a negative sense of who they are.

A good example of how the latter problem is being addressed is provided by the work of RAVIM. In March 2007, they gave peer counselling to people who had lost limbs or sustained other injuries when an armoury exploded in Maputo.

"People did not believe that we were also victims and had had limbs amputated, so we had to take off our prosthetics in the hospital and show them that we have adapted to live a normal life ... I told them, 'You lost your leg, you did not lose your life, so please do not lose your will to live'," said Luis Silvestre Wamusse, national coordinator and co-founder of RAVIM.

The plight of landmine victims and the lack of assistance in many of the world's mine affected territories will be a major focus of the Cartagena Summit on a Mine-Free World, which begins on 29 November 2009 in Colombia


For a more detailed analysis on the situation in Mozambique see:


For information of the Cartagena Summit see: http://www.cartagenasummit.gov.co/

A recent report, Voices from the Ground: Landmine and Explosive Remnants of War Survivors Speak Out on Victim Assistance, can be downloaded from: http://en.handicapinternational.be/Voices-from-the-Ground_a616.html



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