Swiss Rotarian leaves behind anti-land-mine legacy
According to United Nations estimates, some 2,000 people are killed or maimed by land mine explosions each month. More than 110 million active mines – many of which remain active for 50 years – are still scattered in 68 countries. Most land mine victims receive little help or therapy, and face a life of pain and poverty.
Rotarian and surgeon Hans Stirnemann, who died in November following a traffic accident, devoted his life to promoting the ban of land mines and was an advocate for the innocent people injured by them. He had witnessed the devastation caused by land mines while working for the International Red Cross in the 1990s in a Cambodian refugee camp in Thailand and at Red Cross hospitals in Sudan and Pakistan. In 1995, Stirnemann — along with Walter Limacher, then governor of District 1990 (Switzerland), and fellow members of the Rotary Club of Burgdorf, Switzerland — founded Mine-Ex to address the threat and problems caused by these weapons.
Stirnemann drew many Rotarians and Rotary clubs to the cause. Today, Mine-Ex carries out numerous service projects, including providing medical and orthopedic care for land mine victims, training local prosthesis technicians, supporting a worldwide ban on the production and distribution of mines, and helping with the removal of land mines. It also provides annual financial support of SwF 500,000 (US$457,000) to assist approximately 30,000 land mine victims and support other relief efforts.
Learn more about Mine-Ex at www.mine-ex.ch.