At least 66 people have been killed and injured by mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) so far this year, an increase of 23 on the same period last year, a report obtained by The Post said.
The report, produced by the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), said UXO-related accidents had experienced a marked increase this year, with incidents occurring most often among people clearing forest, searching for forestry products and hunting.
“From January to early October this year, 66 people were killed, disabled and injured in 46 incidents of war-era UXO and mines exploding. This figure shows an increase when compared to the same period last year, which only saw 29 incidents [involving 43 people],” the report read.
The report specified that of the 66 victims, 11 were killed, 43 injured and 12 suffered amputations, with men the victims in 45 incidents, children in 15 and women in six. Moreover, mines were responsible for 18 of the incidents and UXO in 48.
CMAA’s Victim Assistance Department deputy-director Ny Nhar said on Wednesday that most incidents occurred in the dry season as more people were out hunting animals in the forest.
“Civil society and the government have been cooperating closely on this, especially in disseminating information and introducing other measures. I would like to appeal to the public not to touch mines or UXO, and immediately report them to the authorities to resolve the issue,” Nhar said.
A CMAA press release from March reported that Prime Minister Hun Sen, who acts as the body’s chair, appealed to citizens to reduce mine and UXO accidents by immediately reporting any discovery to the authorities.
Nhar said since 1979, there have been a total of 64,844 victims of mine and UXO explosions in the Kingdom, resulting in 20,000 deaths and more than 40,000 amputations.