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ERW casualties cause alarm

LAND mine and explosive remnants of war accidents claimed five lives and caused 13 injuries last month, bringing the casualty total for the first seven months of this year to 184, according to new statistics.

That total marks a 7 percent increase over 2009, according to a Cambodian Mine/Explosive Remnants of War Victim Information System report released last week.

After about five years of minor fluctuation, Cambodia recorded a 50 percent decrease in casualties in 2006, and the total has declined every year since. Last year, there were 244 casualties.

Chhiv Lim, the CMVIS project manager, yesterday said he was alarmed by the increase in casualties this year, which he described as unexpected.

Some 50 casualties were recorded in May, which was the worst month nationwide in nearly three years.

“We are very surprised because this year we have seen the number of land-mine casualties increase a lot, “ Chhiv Lim said. “We do not yet know the reason why there have been many land-mine casualties this year.”

He said that he intended to form a “working group” next week that would be instructed to “study the issue”.

Of the 18 casualties recorded last month, 16 were male and two were female, according to the CMVIS report.

Five, including one girl, were reportedly children.

There were nine separate incidents, and in each case the relevant area was not marked as contaminated.

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