Financial Cost of Croatian Mine Clearance estimated at 528 Million Euros
Efforts to completely eradicate Explosive Remnants of War (ERWs) from Croatia by the end of 2019 will cost an estimated 528 million euros, according to the Croatian Mine Action Centre (CMAC). The organisation’s director, Drazen Jakopec, attended a meeting in Varaždin, north-eastern Croatia on the 3rd of June 2014 in order to discuss the implementation of a three-year Humanitarian Demining Plan.
Mr Jakopec highlighted that mine-infested areas present an ongoing threat to citizens in ten of the Croatian Republic’s twenty-one counties and warned that substantial investment would be needed in order to support mine disposal activities in these regions:
“All the activities of the Croatian Mine Action Centre and the government’s Office for Mine Action are focused on increasing financial support from the EU, at least up to the same amount provided by the state budget, or even twice that amount”
He added that financial support from the State for demining activities over the next five years was 35 per cent less that originally envisaged by the Croatian Government in its National Demining Programme.
According to CMAC, more than 500 people had been killed and a further 1,426 had been maimed or seriously injured in Croatia alone by the end of 2012 since the four-year armed conflict that led to the nation’s independence.
The director of the Office for Mine Action, Dijana Plestina, indicated that up to 200 million euros could be secured from the European Union if certain requirements were fulfilled:
“The EU will not provide funds directly for demining, but will finance the demining only if it is a precondition for the realisation of a development programme that will provide new jobs and an economic growth.”
As of January 2013, the Landmine and Cluster Munitions Monitor reported that 685.5 km2 of Croatian territory was still contaminated by ERWs. Approximately 88% of this area is composed of mine-infested forested and agricultural land, impacting on the country’s economic development due to the loss of land use in mine-suspected areas, costing an estimated 47 million euros per year.