About a million mines were laid along the former confrontation line between the warring parties during the breakup of former Yugoslavia and about 240,000 remain. Croatia is not expected to be free of mines for quite some time. The most heavily mined areas were in
- eastern Slavonia near Osijek and Vukovar,
- western Slavonia around Sisak and Karlovac
- the hinterlands behind Zadar and Sibenik.
De-mining is a slow and expensive process. The heavily populated and touristed parts of the coast (such as the Dubrovnik region) and tourist attractions such as Plitvice Lakes National Park were cleared quickly but much work remains to be done elsewhere in the interior. Croatia's coast and islands were not mined and are completely mine-free.
Mines in Croatia are easy for most visitors to avoid. Hunters need to pay special attention since some prime hunting locations are also in mine locations. If you will be venturing far from anywhere visitors usually go, check the mine maps at the Croatian Mine Action Center. Then, contact their regional offices if you require more specific information.
Avoid wandering into remote areas of eastern Slavonia, western Slavonia and the Zadar to Sibenik hinterlands. Do not try to explore abandoned houses that look as though shells hit them. Be alert for the telltale danger flag: a white skull and crossbones on a red triangle indicate that a mine is near.
The Croatian Mine Action Center is doing important work in managing the de-mining process. Contact them for further information and consider making a donation.
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