According to a report by the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), in the first four months of this year, 12 people fell victim to landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW).
“This is a 65 per cent drop compared to the same period last year, when 34 people were affected,” said Lan Kosal, CMAA official in charge of mine action and rescue of people with disabilities due to mines.
He said that of the 12 victims, three struck landmines, while nine were affected by ERWs.
“All of the victims were male: three men and nine boys. There was one death and eleven injuries, four of which were life-changing,” he added.
Multiple incidents occurred in Ratanakiri, Oddar Meanchey and Siem Reap provinces, with one each in Preah Vihear, Pursat, Kampong Thom, Takeo and Kratie provinces.
Ly Thuch, first vice-president of the CMAA, said the authority was pleased by the reduction in incidents.
“The decrease in the number of victims is due to the government’s efforts to educate the public about the dangers of mines and ERWs, especially in areas where they are known to be present. The National Police force, the Cambodian Mine Action Centre [CMAC], and the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces [NPMEC] all conduct regular public awareness campaigns,” he added.
“The public are now extremely aware of the dangers of mines and ERWs. We will continue to conduct demining activities. Mines are the most dangerous of all the munitions, so if we can clear all of them, it will make a massive contribution to reducing the danger,” he continued.
He noted that the CMAA had encountered some obstacles, such as a lack of skilled manpower and a limited amount of modern, high quality mine detection equipment.
“There is also a shortage of funds for demining work, as we need to pay the salaries of demining officers and the members of local communities who work with them,” he concluded.