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UXO casualties rising

The Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) has recorded a drastic increase in the number of deaths and injuries due to unexploded ordnance and landmines this year compared with 2013, the organisation has said.

Heng Ratana, director-general of CMAC, said yesterday that there had been 101 casualties in the first six months of 2014, compared with about 110 cases in the whole of last year.

Ratana suggested that a factor driving the increase in deaths and injuries – predominantly in Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey and Battambang, provinces that border Thailand – was that farmers were increasingly using heavy machinery to cultivate their farmland.

“We see that most of the incidents are happening in the agriculture fields [and are] mostly related to the heavy tractors used in those areas,” he said. “Before, they farmed more by manual labour.

“This is one thing that we want to educate [people] more on,” he said.

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