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Reference : V-P-AZ-E-00734
Date : 25/02/2019
Caption : Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. This man (on the right) lost the use of his lower limbs in a landmine blast. Thanks to a loan from the ICRC, he bought a cattle feed grinding machine, adjusted it to his wheelchair and started offering the service to the villagers.
Photographer : HAKOBYAN, Gohar
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Description : During the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the 1990s, he was a commander of a demining platoon. Known for his careful disposition, and for being a stickler for details, he quickly gained the reputation of a person who was never mistaken. He said he was able to find and neutralize 60 landmines on an average per night. "A deminer can fail only once. I could be dead a long time ago. Even now I don't know how I was able to do the job. It's like catching a snake: you never know whether it will bite or not", he explains. Ironically, in 1995, his car exploded in a landmine incident leaving him with major spinal cord injuries. After losing his house in a landslide and spending all his money on treatment, he approached the ICRC for a loan to set up a small income-generating activity.

ICRC web site, article of 31.05.2019: Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: Landmines, a disturbing reminder of war

It has been 25 years since the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict first disrupted the lives of the people living in the region. The years may have sped by, but the people continue to be haunted by the ghosts of the time gone past. The most traumatic of those reminders are the landmines which continue to lay buried and undiscovered beneath the rural arable lands in the area.
Landmines are indiscriminate. They do not choose if the victim is from the military or a civilian. The ICRC mission in Nagorno-Karabakh has registered 747 cases of landmine victims, of which 59% are civilians. With a population of about 140,000, this number is striking given that most of the landmine survivors now live with some form of a permanent physical disability. The bitter reality is that these unfortunate people need life-long physical rehabilitation and care is hard to come by. Despite all odds, many people still manage to find courage to get back on their feet and aspire for a better future. [...] Out of the total number of landmine victims registered by the ICRC mission in Nagorno-Karabakh, 523 are still the main breadwinners of their families, while 316 became pensioners after the incidents. [...]
Landmine blasts affect everyone - men and women, young and old, civilians and military personnel. [...]
Incidents like these are among the top reasons for civilian casualties, along with the negligent behavior displayed during farming and travelling. The sad reality is that that more people have suffered from landmine explosions in the aftermath of the conflict than during it.
Original material : digital
Resolution : 5846x3897
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : colour