The International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action is observed on April 4 every year. The day aims to raise awareness about landmines, seek assistance for mine action work, and advance towards removing them. Assisted by the United Nations and other organizations, the campaign calls for the development of national mine-action capacities in nations where mines and explosive remnants of war remain and constitute a serious threat to the safety, health, and lives of civilians. It is also a huge deterrent to social and economic development at the national and local levels.
Drones have entered the campaign to make areas safer by mapping suspected mines. For example, Canada's Draganfly has been supplying de-mining groups in Ukraine with drones designed to seek out landmines. It is estimated the Russian invasion of Ukraine—as well as defensive actions by both sides—has contaminated 62,000 square miles of Ukrainian land. The cleanup effort could take years, and, as landmines don't discriminate between combatants and civilians, the threat is chilling. In 2020, landmines killed or maimed approximately 7,073 people worldwide, and civilians were 80 percent of those casualties—with at least 50 percent of the figure being children. Drones and other tech are safer methods for finding and marking mine fields, and guiding cleanup by humans—who still need to safely dig up and neutralize the mines. Read additional news about Draganfly's relief efforts in Ukraine here.