The latest danger for refugees to Europe: Minefields

GlobalPost
Child in Croatia holding mines
Djuka Dretvic, 14, holds anti-tank mine lighters found in 2006 in front of his family's house in the village of Ceric, close to the eastern Croatian town of Vukovar.
Elvir Tabakovic

The migrants and refugees coming to Europe have faced everything from daunting overland journeys to sinking boats, razor wire border fences and their shelters being set on fire.

Now, as more of them head to Croatia, there's a new obstacle: minefields.

Thanks to one of the 1990s wars that followed Yugoslavia’s collapse, parts of Croatia — including near its northeast border with Serbia, where migrants are now crossing — are still scattered with active mines. 

And it’s not just a few dozen. There are around 50,000 of them, according to the Croatian Mine Action Center (CROMAC).

This map shows their approximate layout:

Approximate locations of suspected minefields in Croatia in 2006.

A demining official said this week that Croatian police had summoned a team of experts to the area as the stream of migrants increased.

Mines have killed more than 500 people in the southern European country since the end of the war in 1995, the BBC reports, citing CROMAC.

The explosives are a deadly reminder of the four-year war between Croats and Serbs that broke out after Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. 

CROMAC has been working to eliminate Croatia's mines since 1998.

The action center told GlobalPost in an email Friday that the “suspected hazardous area” — more than 300 square miles across the whole country — is marked with more than 12,000 signs.

Here’s what those probably look like:

A minefield warning sign.

But aside from official responses, local Croatian activists are warning incoming migrants by posting maps and other information to Facebook.

Timeline Photos - Dear refugees: Welcome to Croatia | Facebook

Attantion #انتباه Refugees are coming form Serbia to Croatia , Please make attention there is some land in Croatia had Minefield, many minefields...

Senior Correspondent Dan Peleschuk is based in Kyiv, Ukraine.