08 May 2014

MAG - 'Nobody could tell the difference between us - but now one of us has one leg and one of us has two'

It's an extraordinarily tragic story: twins Dana and Zana Anim both lost limbs in a landmine accident in northern Iraq; then their two brothers died in separate mine incidents.

Dana and Zana's lives changed in 2003, near their home in Khdir Bulakh [marked on the map below]. "We were both on a donkey looking after the sheep," Dana explains. "We didn’t know the area was dangerous – we had only recently returned to our village [after the 2003 Iraq War]. There was a huge explosion, then dust and blood.

"We were then both very thirsty. We were there on the ground, bleeding and in terrible pain, for half an hour until my father came, put us on a truck and took us to hospital."

Dana lost both of his legs and Zana lost one.

On 10 October 2005, their brother Rahim was looking after sheep with three friends just 60 metres from where these photos were taken. They set of a mine. Rahim and two of the other children were killed; the other was seriously injured.

A year to the day later, on 10 October 2006, their remaining brother, Kazim, died in yet another landmine accident. His friend survived, but lost both of his legs and his hearing.

These horrific deaths and injuries were all caused by Valmara 69 anti-personnel mines that have a killing range of up to 30 metres.

"Before the accident, nobody could tell the difference between us – but now one of us has one leg and one of us has two," Dana says, laughing. "But we are lucky – we have life. Nothing will happen to us now."

The area around Khdir Bulakh is now completely free of landmines, thanks to MAG demining teams. Dana and Zana support their family by growing cucumbers, tomatoes and wheat, and rearing cows and sheep, on the cleared land – the same place where they had their accident.

"MAG has saved our village," says Dana.  "But there are other villages suffering that need your help."
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