Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Wise words in an e-mail from Mary Wareham, Landmine Monitor with Human Rights Watch. She writes:

"You were quite fortunate in a number of ways. Someone was there to take you to the nearest emergency clinic; we still believe that half of the people who fall casualty to this weapon die within the first five minutes, usually from loss of blood and often because they are alone at the time of the incident (herding cattle, fetching water, etc). The town actually had a medical clinic and there was a real ambulance that took you to a hospital that I presume was able to treat your injuries; a lot of casualties don't have access to adequate transportation or medical facilities, especially if they are civilian.

I have several friends who have received terrible injuries to their feet as result of mine explosions, only to then undergo dozens more surgeries and a lifetime of difficulties. And then, after years, they have given up and opted for amputation, as it is really is often the best solution available. I understand that using a prosthetic limb can take some getting used to, but even with that you are lucky you’ll get one and probably a very nice one! I’ve seen some incredible makeshift limbs that survivors have made themselves since there was nothing available to them."

As Mary rightly points out, things could have been much, much worse. You can read more about Human Rights Watch's campaign to ban landmines here. The specific landmine situation in Iraq is covered here.

Discuss Northern Iraq -- and Beyond


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