Demining in Osijek-Baranja County to Conclude in 4 Years

Total Croatia News

More than 22 years since the end of the war, the demining process in Osijek-Baranja County is coming towards its end.

In Osijek-Baranja County, there are still about 55 square kilometres of possibly mined areas, but in the next four years, they should be completely cleared. County Prefect Ivan Anušić and director of the Croatian Mine Action Centre, Zdravko Modrušan, said that Croatia will ask for an extension of the deadline for demining set by the Ottawa Convention for March 2019, reports RTL on October 20, 2017.

Modrušan reported that this year five square kilometres had been demined in the county. A major project “Natura Vita” is underway which will provide an additional 35 million euros for the demining of the county, throughout which all agricultural land has already been demined.

Although the Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production, and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and Their Destruction prescribes that Croatia should complete the demining process by March 2019, Modrušan announced that the country would request a prolongation of the deadline, since there are not enough funds to complete the project. He noted that, in earlier years, demining was mostly financed from the state budget, while this is the first year that most of the money was secured from EU funds.

Nataša Mateša-Mateković, the coordinator for international cooperation of the Croatian Mine Action Centre, announced that the “Natura Vita” project, for which the EU’s Competitiveness and Cohesion Operational Programme has secured 298 million kuna, intends to demine 27.5 square kilometres of the area within the Kopački Rit Nature Park and the Mura-Drava Regional Park.

She pointed out that there were still 419 square kilometres of potential mine areas in Croatia. Since 1991, 518 people have been killed by mines, but no mine incidents or accidents have been reported this year. She also announced that this year would see the completion of demining in Brod-Posavina County, while means that next year there will be eight counties with possible mine areas, mainly in Lika-Senj, Sisak-Moslavina and Osijek-Baranja Counties.

County Prefect Anušić said that the remaining areas were large and difficult to reach, such as the Kopački Rit Nature Park and forest areas along rivers, but he is confident that the demining process will be completed in the next four years with the help of EU funds.

Translated from RTL.


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