The American Chamber of Commerce in Croatia (AmCham) has been one of the biggest demining donors and the latest agreement for a donation of HRK 427,000 was signed in Sisak on Wednesday.

Of that amount, HRK 257,900 was raised at a charity dinner last year and US$ 25,000 was donated by the US government. The money will be used to demine 50,000 square metres of Kotar Forest between Sisak and Petrinja, the most heavily mine-infested area in the country.

"We are aware of the importance of demining for the normalisation of living in areas suspected of being planted with mines. That's why we are glad to help in the demining of Kotar Forest, where there has been the highest number of mine victims," said AmCham president Berislav Korvat.

Croatian Mine Action Centre deputy head Neven Karas said 19 mine-related incidents had taken place in Kotar Forest, with 33 casualties, including 13 fatalities.

Over the past two years, 2.5 square km of land there was cleared of mines thanks to donations from the US and the Croatian power utility HEP. So far, 1,600 explosive devices have been removed. Eight square kilometres are yet to be demined.

Sisak-Moslavina County prefect Ivo Zinic said 80 square km of land in the county was still believed to be mine-infested, of which 20 percent was arable land and the rest were forests. He voiced confidence that the county would be free of mines by 2019.

Since 2001, over HRK 8.5 million has been raised at AmCham's dinners. Horvat said the 15th fundraiser would be held in November.

(EUR 1 = HRK 7.53)

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