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Landmine fatalities drop

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Injuries and deaths from UXO declined by 48 per cent in the first four months of this year. Photo supplied

Landmine fatalities drop

Twenty-six people were killed and injured by landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) in the first four months of this year, the Cambodian Mine Action Authority (CMAA) said in a report on Monday.

The number represents a decrease of 48 per cent compared to the same period last year when 50 casualties were recorded.

“Of the 26 victims, five died, 21 sustained serious and minor injuries, seven of whom had their limbs amputated and will become disabled for life. They are still being treated by the medical team,” the report said.

Over the first four months of this year, the report said seven demining operators including the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC), Cambodia Self Help Demining (CSHD), Halo Trust, MAC, Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) and APOPO had cleared 36,180,704sqm and discovered 4,893 anti-human mines, 120 anti-tank mines, and 14,195 explosive remnants of war.

Senior minister and CMAA first vice-president Ly Thuch told The Post on Monday that landmines and explosive remnants continue to affect the daily lives of Cambodians in rural and remote areas.

“Everyone must be careful when spotting them. Don’t try to touch, play, or pick them up because they can easily explode and endanger life.

“Landmines, cluster bombs, and explosive remnants of war remain a risk for all of us. Not only do they kill and disable people, they also hinder personal and national economic growth as well,” he said.

Thuch said millions of landmines and explosive remnants were reportedly buried in almost every part of Cambodia, especially around military camps and border areas.

On Sunday, 16 artillery shells were found by residents in Preah Vihear province’s Rovieng and Kulen districts and were destroyed on the spot by a CSHD demining team.

Chhuon Bora, a CSHD landmine clearance technical official, told The Post on Monday: “The artillery shells were rockets of between 60mm and 85mm and were made in America, China, Russia and Vietnam.”

Meanwhile, a bomb dropped from an MK82 aircraft was removed from the ground by an NPA team in community forest land in Phak Nam village, Koh Peak commune, Veun Sai district, Ratanakkiri province, on Saturday after villagers spotted it.

To meet the “mine-free Cambodia by 2025” goal, the government has pledged to cover 10 per cent of spending for all bilateral or multilateral demining projects.

The government has also laid out plans to complete basic data research in 73 districts in eastern provinces this year.

From 2020 to 2025, Cambodia still needs an additional $377 million to clear 806sq km containing mines, cluster bombs, and explosive remnants of war, the government said.

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