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It's estimated that someone steps on a landmine every 22 minutes. According to the United Nations association, landmines are indiscriminate weapons by nature'they do not distinguish between a soldier's footstep and a child's footstep'approximately 26-thousand civilians are killed each year by landmines'8 thousand to 10 thousand of them are children.
It's believed that there are between 60 million and 70 million landmines in the ground in at least 70 countries.
The local chapter of the U.N. association of the USA, along with its parent organization, is working to change that. More than 5 million dollars has been raised so far for the adopt-a-minefield campaign. The local group has raised more than $10,000 so far to go towards de-mining efforts. Lee Longman is the group's president'
Landmines are such an insidious weapon because they really harm civilians and they stay in the ground until they're detonated. So, it's something that stays long after the hostilities of a war are over.
The adopt-a-minefield campaign is working to clear landmines in 6 countries: Afghanistan, Bosnia, Cambodia, Croatia, Mozambique and Vietnam. The money raised locally will go toward de-mining efforts in Afghanistan. Longman explains why the local U.N. association chapter decided to get involved'
Our United Nations association has been in Springfield trying to promote the United Nations and what it does for over 30 years. We're a small group'not well known'but we felt a couple of years ago that this was a very worthwhile project'it would be good for us and it would also give us some publicity, which is happening. So, we decided a couple of years ago to try to join in the program of adopting a minefield.
The local fundraising effort will wrap up February 22nd when the local U.N. association chapter presents a check to the deputy director of the adopt-a-landmine campaign. Nahela hadi, who was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and is a member of the country's former ruling family, will give a talk at 6 pm that day in SMSU's plaster student union theatre.
If you'd like to donate toward the cause or if you'd like more information call bill or Lee Longman at 883-2975. You may also send a check to:
Springfield chapter UNA-USA
P.O. box 3044
Springfield, mo 65808