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The World in Medicine
September 8, 1999

Weapons of War

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JAMA. 1999;282(10):933. doi:10.1001/jama.282.10.933

The 20th century's powerful, deadly weapons of war are taking an enormous toll on civilians living in poor, politically vulnerable war-torn nations.

In a series of studies published August 14 in BMJ, researchers from the International Committee of the Red Cross analyzed data on wartime civilian injuries treated in Red Cross hospitals in Africa and Asia. Of nearly 19,000 people treated from 1991 to 1998, 19% who had bullet wounds, 34% with injuries from fragments of mortars, bombs, and shells, and 31% injured by antipersonnel mines were civilians. Of 2012 treated at the Red Cross hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, civilians had 39% of bullet wounds, 55% of injuries from mines, and 61% of fragment injuries.