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The years 1991-1995 saw a blistering civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina between three cultural groups: Croatians, Serbians, and Muslims (Bosnians). Each group planted a tremendous number of landmines. The result has been disastrous: fields, houses, streets, and bridges - primarily along the former frontlines - were mined. No one knows exactly how many mines were planted, but the latest estimate by the US State Department puts the number somewhere between 750,000-1,000,000 ("Hidden Killers 98", US State Department, September 1998).

With the signing of the Dayton agreement, the war officially ended in December 1995. During the following period, about 50 people had accidents with landmines each month. In 2001, the number dropped to 87 during the year, and in 2002, the number fell to 27 (Sources: ICBL and HI). This decline in accidents is heavily indebted to the humanitarian organisations which mark the minefields, clear them, and warn people about the dangers.

But landmines and duds are still pose a major obstruction to people's daily lives, especially for those living in rural districts: many areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina are still off-limits - there isn't enough information about their hazards. That's why the Landmine Impact Survey (LIS), conducted in 2002 and 2003, gathered information about communities affected by landmines and duds, and classified the areas by priority (high/medium/low).