Eritrean amputee statistics

Landmine injuries in Eritrea, by Kurt Hanevik

Looking at
Eritrean amputee statistics

A survey to map the number of persons with various disabilities was made by the Eritrean Department of Social Affairs in 1990 and 92. Main categories in the study were: Visual impairment, Deafness, Amputations, Paralysis, Mental disorders and Unspecified. This study was helpful in the way that it provided recent statistics on amputees and cause of disability. In particular I examined the leg amputee numbers assuming them to be one of the best available pointers to where landmines constituted the biggest problem.

Before looking closer at the disability study one has to be aware that there are several sources for errors in this material so that one can not draw very conclusive results from it. In this study there were a substantial group of unspecified disabilities. Migration in the years around liberation might also mess up the reliability of the study. Additional flaw might be caused by all those that for different reasons escaped the recording done in the study. Population data is still uncertain with refugees and displaced people moving. Below is used offical Eritrean population figures.
The study concluded that the total number of civilian amputees in 1992 was 2552. Leg amputees numbers 1360, and arm amputees ncomes up to 1192. The total number of Ex-combatants with leg amputations is given to be 1550. This leads us to a total number of leg amputees of 2910 for the whole country in 1992. A amputee ratio of 0.45 per 1000 inhabitants is considerably higher than in European countries.
When dividing the number of legs amputees on the total population in the various provinces I found three provinces (Senhit, Hamasien and Sahel) to have substantially higher leg amputee ratios (marked with *) than the rest of the provinces.

Prevalence of civilian amputees in Eritrea
per 1000
Province 1 leg 2 legs 1 arm 2 arms Population
Senhit 202 34 262 29 275 000 * 0,85
Seraye 229 36 303 36 515 000 0,52
Hamasien 182 29 176 14 227 000 * 0,93
Barka/Gash-Setit 95 1 71 1 462 000 0,21
Asmara 74 12 44 2 475 000 0,18
Semhar 15 5 12 1 195 000 0,10
Sahel 221 42 104 47 289 000 * 0,91
Denkel 29 9 11 5 156 000 0,24
Akeleguzai 115 30 73 1 460 000 0,32
Total 1162 198 1056 136 3 054 000 0,45
Dep. of Social Affairs, 1990/1992

However, in the Programme for the Physical Rehabilitation of the Disabled, the figures listed from the same survey shows the following and very different figures for Sahel and Semhar. If these figures are correct Semhar turns out to be the province with the highest leg amputee ratio. This information came to me at a late stage so I did not find time to go further into the situation in these provinces. Neither did I succeed in finding out which of the figures are actually correct.

Leg amputations 1 or 2 leg
per 1000
Province 1 leg 2 legs Population
Semhar 149 42 195000 0,98
Sahel 15 5 289000 0,69

Cause of disability
When looking at the causes of disabilities by province I found high numbers of disabilities caused by explosive in the same provinces as those who had a high leg amputation ratio. Standing out in this table is Senhit, Hamasien, Seraye and Sahel (marked with *). Considerations on amputee ratio as well as cause of disability made the basis for further work as I here found an indicator, though weak, to where in Eritrea landmine injuries are most prevalent.

Prevalence of explosive injuries by province
Province Explosive as
cause of disability
Per 1000 of
Senhit 490 * 1,78
Seraye 558 * 1,08
Hamasien 432 * 1,90
Barka/Gash-Setit 233 0,50
Asmara 243 0,51
Semhar 219 0,12
Sahel 356 * 1,23
Denkel - -
Akeleguzai 126 0,27
Total 2657 0,87

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