World Bulletin/News Desk
When Mehmedalija Djapic bought his house on the banks of the River Bosna after the 1992-95 war, he had no idea the land around it was laced with landmines.
Fourteen years passed before the deminers scouring Bosnia detected his minefield and several months ago began the painstaking work of marking it with yellow tape and skull-and-crossbone signs.
In the wake of the worst floods to hit the Balkans in living memory, Djapic's courtyard was packed on Tuesday with rescue teams who fear the work they have done so far was in vain.
Authorities are warning that many of the more than 100,000 remaining landmines dotted across Bosnia have been dislodged by heavy rain, floodwaters and hundreds of landslides, shifting beyond the markers.
"Luck has been on my side so far," said Djapic, a 75-year-old refugee from eastern Bosnia.
"Last week the river was raging. I could feel the ground shaking under my feet and the waters reached the courtyard, but now the deminers are back we feel safe again," he said.
"The most difficult thing is to make my grandchildren understand they cannot play ball."
Mine removal experts estimate that more than 120,000 landmines remain planted across Bosnia, the legacy of a war that killed 100,000 people and displaced more than a million.
Bosnia's Mine Action Centre (MAC) has appealed for international help in getting more equipment and satellite screening to track the movement of mines after the heaviest rainfall in the Balkans since records began 120 years ago.
"There have been a number of reports that mines resurfaced after the flood and that landslides have moved whole minefields and markings," MAC head Sasa Obradovic told Reuters.
"We are struggling to pinpoint all these areas and warn people in time."
MAC says that more than 600 people have been killed and more than 1,700 more have been wounded in landmine accidents since the war ended in 1995. Obradovic said four people had been killed and 12 wounded this year alone.
He put the cost of ridding the country completely of landmines at 300 million euros ($412 million) by 2019. The country's reliance on agriculture and logging means few can afford not to take the risk.
"Bearing in mind that the impoverished population in rural areas relies on logging as the only source of income, there's a big risk of new incidents after such rainfall," Obradovic said.
The centerpiece of the budget signed by President Donald Trump is a $61-billion increase in defense spending, boosting funding for the government's biggest department to $700 billion.
US president says duties avoidable if new trade deal signed
Bombardier avoids 300 percent tariff on plane sale to Delta
Verified Facebook pages for Musk companies disappear after he is challenged about them on Twitter
What FETO did was to fight behind the scenes within Turkish military, police, and bureaucracy, a Fulbright researcher says
World Food Programme highlights link between hunger and conflict
55 terrorists neutralized, 20 caves, 42 shelters destroyed since operation launched in Hakurk, Kani Rash regions
Defense secretary remarks come after a meeting with Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia at Pentagon
The latest crisis laying siege to the leading online social network has raised the specter that he has lost control of his creation and been naive about the unintended consequences of people sharing so much about themselves.
Lawmakers stared down a self-imposed deadline of midnight Friday, when federal funding was set to expire, and passed the mammoth package by a vote of 65-32, with hours to spare.
Allowing Peshmerga to vote twice in upcoming polls would violate Iraq’s national charter, Turkmen politician asserts
Case against Turkish President’s seven bodyguards over brawl in Washington was dismissed, says lawyer
Antonio Guterres says one in four people will live countries where lack of fresh water will be chronic or recurrent by 2050
Energy secretary says US should get ahead before Russia or China builds civil nuclear capability in the Kingdom
Negative impact on Chinese gowth would be greater if US expands tariffs and protectionist measures, rating agency warns
'We look forward to continuing our conversations' with Turkey, Heather Nauert says