CASUALTIES caused by land mines and explosive remnants of war increased by 5 percent in the first six months of this year compared with the same period in 2009, according to statistics released yesterday.
The June report from the Cambodian Mine/Explosive Remnants of War Victim Information System, which tracks data on mine casualties, states that there were 24 in total last month, up slightly from June 2009.
This casualty total was far lower than the 50 recorded in May, which was the worst month for casualties nationwide in nearly three years.
According to the information system, there have been 158 casualties through the first six months of the year.
Five people were killed in mine and UXO accidents recorded in June. Nineteen were injured, five of whom required amputations.
Eight ERW accidents accounted for 16 of the casualties recorded in June, and five land-mine accidents were responsible for the other eight.
Between January 2009 and June 2010, the five most mine-affected provinces – Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Preah Vihear, Pailin and Oddar Meanchey – have accounted for 66 percent of all casualties. Roughly 47 percent of these have been concentrated in 10 districts.
Over the longer term, Cambodia has seen a dramatic decrease in land-mine casualties, from 1,691 in 1993 to 244 last year.
But authorities have acknowledged that the government’s initial obligation to clear all contaminated areas in the Kingdom by 2009 – part of its commitment under the Ottawa Treaty, which bans the use of land mines – may have been unrealistic.
Cambodia was granted a 10-year extension on that goal during a gathering of parties to the treaty held in Cartagena, Colombia, in December.