The mine/UXO problem in Azerbaijan is mainly resulted from the military aggression of Armenia over the territory of Azerbaijan. Although the hostilities had ceased in May 1994, a permanent peace is yet to be achieved (negotiations are underway with the assistance of OSCE Minsk Group, chaired by the USA, France and Russia). Despite this, the rehabilitation of accessible war-torn areas are continuing since 1996.
The Scope of the Problem in this publication refers to problems in the accessible war torn territories. This is where the presence of mine/UXOs are impacting livelihoods of population and impeding development and rehabilitation efforts of the Government of Azerbaijan.
To have an idea on the magnitude of the mine/UXO problem for the purposes of both, strategic and operational planning, ANAMA has been exploring all possible ways & means, including outside support. In this context, the General Survey (Level 1 Survey) was undertaken in 2001 followed by the LIS (Landmine Impact Survey), conducted jointly with SAC in 18 districts from September 2002 to June 2003.
The LIS has identified 480 mine-impacted communities and 163 UXO impacted communities. Altogether 970 SHA (Suspected Hazard Areas) were identified as directly impacting the safety and livelihoods of an estimated 514,000 people. It has also led to the death of 3 and/or injury of 7 people in 2011. The LIS result termed the contamination level as ‘extensive’ with 736 mln sqm of land contaminated with mines and UXOs. They are all located in the war-torn districts along the ceasefire line and border with Armenia. Very high degree of contamination has been detected in Fizuli district. UXO contamination is extensive throughout Aghstafa district.
In late 2006, according to the Government’s task and based on the request from ANAMA Director, the ‘Re-survey’ has been undertaken by the local government authorities of the 11 mine/UXO affected districts. Their reports have partly confirmed the results of LIS. The outcome of the ‘Re-survey, has reduced the figure to 306 mln sqm. Some new areas have also been identified in the course of mine action activities. ANAMA TSQA division will revise and review all the data related to mine/UXO contamination from various sources within the special re-survey process.In 2012 ANAMA is expecting to clear/reduce/cancel approximately 28 mln sqm of mine/UXO contaminated land.
Based on the information from different sources, in 2011 ANAMA has registered 8 mine incidents causing 7 casualties and 3 death, which was military personnel.
Based on the results of General Survey (2000-2001), 1979 mine survivors were registered in the ANAMA’s mine victim data base. The number of mine survivors interviewed in the frameworks of the countrywide Mine Victims Needs Assessment Survey (2004) was 1883. While implementing mine victim assistance projects and cross checking of data base, the actual number of mine victims in Azerbaijan was reduced to 1839.
At this stage it is not possible to measure the extent of mine/UXO problems in occupied areas. Apart from Nagorno Karabakh, adjoint Jabrayil, Zangilan, Gubadly, Lachin, Kelbajar, and partly Fizuli, Terter and Aghdam districts are under the control of Armenian forces. These areas are expected to have extensive mine/UXO contamination with an estimated SHAs varying from 350 to 830 mln sqm with between 50 to 100 thousands of mines over there.