Berlin, May 13 (IANS) A part of the border between erstwhile East and West Germany may be declared a “no-go zone” as dozens of minefields have remained uncleared since the Cold War, an official said.
Jurgen Reinholz, the ecology minister of Thuringia region, said that more than 40 minefields stretch for some 25 km along the borders of Thuringia, once part of the Soviet-controlled German Democratic Republic (East Germany) bordering the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), RIA Novosti reported citing Focus magazine.
German authorities acknowledge the need to de-mine the area, but this would be a costly enterprise, the report said.
“If nothing changes, we will declare the area a no-go zone,” Reinholz told local newspaper OVZ.
A total of 1.2 million mines were laid by East Germany at the border with West Germany during the Cold War, including half of them along Thuringia’s modern borders, according to local ecology authorities.
More than 30,000 mines still remain in the ground, the newspaper said.
Between 100,000 and 200,000 people attempted to flee East Germany for West across the Berlin Wall from 1961 – when the Wall was erected – to 1989, when it came down. Some 5,000 people are believed to have succeeded, while dozens were killed trying to cross the Wall.