May 10, 2005
The Survey Action Center, a non-governmental organization, today unveiled a first-of-its kind web-based research tool, the "LIS Explorer," funded by a $25,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, that enables decision makers and the general public to easily examine the results of Landmine Impact Surveys (LIS) in selected countries to better understand the scope of the problem and make more informed decisions.
The LIS Explorer contains extensive data on landmine and unexploded ordnance infestation and casualties in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chad, northwestern Somalia ("Somaliland"), Thailand and Yemen. Data on Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Lebanon and northeastern Somalia will be added to it shortly.
Until the advent of the LIS Explorer, the locations of suspected mined areas, their relative impact on men, women, children and other demographic information, and degree to which the mines infested vital natural resources and infrastructure, were not accessible to the general public, nor readily available to government officials. Now, anyone with access to the Internet can use the LIS Explorer at www.sac-na.org/lisexplorer/index.html to review the findings of comprehensive nationwide landmine impact surveys. These surveys have already revealed that over 80 per cent of landmines' social and economic harm is caused by less than 20 per cent of the world's minefields. With the help of the LIS Explorer, officials in the surveyed countries and foreign donors will be able to more effectively prioritize landmine clearance, refine mine risk education campaigns, and better direct health care and psycho-social assistance to landmine survivors.
The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs currently manages humanitarian mine action programs in 22 countries around the world, encourages public-private partnerships to support mine action, and oversees efforts to reduce illegal trafficking and increase international safeguarding of small arms, light weapons and man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS). To learn more, visit www.state.gov/t/pm/wra.
To learn more about the Survey Action Center, based in Takoma Park, Maryland, and its years of experience in conducting landmine and unexploded ordnance surveys worldwide, visit www.sac-na.org.