Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Friday, February 24, 2012

Long-buried landmines surface in Chile

(CNN) -- Torrential rains washed long-buried landmines onto a heavily traveled highway near Chile's border with Peru this week.

No one was injured, but activists say the incident is a reminder of the risks such explosive devices pose.

"They are a constant threat. ... This is just reinforcing the need for all governments to clear all contaminated land, or seek assistance in doing so if you're struggling to clear it," said Kate Wiggans, a spokeswoman for the Geneva-based International Campaign to Ban Landmines.

In the 1970s, Chile placed mines along the South American nation's borders with Peru, Argentina and Bolivia as regional tensions rose during Gen. Augusto Pinochet's military dictatorship, which lasted until 1990.

Decades later, more than 120,000 antipersonnel mines remain in Chile, according to the Chilean nonprofit Centro Zona Minada (Mined Zone Center). Read More