Officials from the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) reported that in the first nine months of the year, nearly 30 people were victims of unexploded ordnance (UXO), a reduction of around one third on the same period last year.

It ascribed the positive reduction to the extensive efforts of the government and its partners to educate the public and carry out mine clearance.

CMAA demining officer Lang Kosal on October 4 said January to September had seen 27 victims, 13 due to landmines and 14 to assorted explosive remnants of war (ERW).

“The four provinces most affected were Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, Battambang and Ratanakkiri,” he said.

Incidents also took place in Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, Battambang, Ratanakkiri, Preah Vihear, Siem Reap, Tbong Khmum, Pursat, Kampong Chhnang, Kratie and Takeo provinces.

The same period in 2022 saw 40 victims, he added.

“In in the first nine months of 2022, 13 people became casualties when they handled UXOs or tried to dismantle them for scrap, but this year only 10 such incidents occurred.

Last year, nine people became victims while clearing land for farming, but this only happened to one person this year,” he said.

Ly Thuch, vice-president of the CMAA, claimed that the drop in the number of victims was due to the government’s efforts to spread the word about the dangers of landmines to local communities.

CMAA cooperated with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, police officers, the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) and local authorities to educate the public.

“We are making greater efforts to protect people from the dangers of landmines. Therefore, we have seen a drop in the number of victims,” he said.