There is a huge need to raise awareness in order to prevent accidents, which is why Handicap International, in partnership with a local organization, has recently begun a risk education project.
As part of the project over 500 people are attending risk education sessions in the districts of Baramulla, Rajouri, Kupwara and Poonch, which are on the border with Pakistan. One hundred volunteers and government health workers will also receive training and 30,000 posters and leaflets with safety messages will also be distributed.
Although the contaminated areas along the border are cordoned off by barbed wire, local people are often poorly informed about the risks. For example, when children are shown photos of mines, many think they are toys.
The region is mountainous and prone to flooding and landslides, which dislodge mines and carry them to areas, which were not previously contaminated. Three farmers were killed and another seriously injured earlier this year when a mine that they were trying to move exploded.
Accidents like this show how important it is to raise awareness so that more people know how to recognize these weapons, are aware of the damage they can cause, can recognize warning signs, and are aware of the areas, including land around checkpoints and infrastructure, where the risks are highest.