The number of child landmine victims in Colombia has risen dramatically in 2012, the country’s government said Tuesday.
According to the Presidential Program for Comprehensive Action Against Antipersonnel Mines, this year 16 children have already been affected: 13 injured and 3 dead compared to 5 injured and 1 dead over the same period in 2011.
This increase in victims has not been met with an equivalent increase in government services to the wounded.
“There is no requirement in the Act 100 to provide a comprehensive program that includes all services required by a child affected by mines, ie, isolated services include therapies for meetings, consultations and surgeries, but not a package of services ensure comprehensive rehabilitation,” said NGO Save the Children, according to Colombian daily El Tiempo.
Children affected by land mines often require greater attention than their adult counterparts in responding to their physical and psychological needs. Injuries often also require the child be moved to cities where they can be properly treated, and the transfer of guardianship can be a lengthy process.
Data from the Colombian Campaign Against Mines suggests the reported figure may actually much greater, as high as 31 minors affected in 2012. The number of victims may be under reported due to parents’ fears of retribution from armed groups.
Landmines have been a devastating part of Colombia’s ongoing conflict for more than two decades. Since 1990 they have killed at least 201 children and 1,828 adults.