There have been 41 casualties of landmines, unexploded ordnance (UXOs) and explosive remnants of war (ERW) year-to-date, marking a decrease of 7 per cent over full-year 2021, when 44 people fell victim to the tragic leftovers of the Kingdom’s violent past, according to the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA).

CMAA’s report said that 19 of the 41 were victims of landmines and 22 of ERW. Ten of the victims were killed outright and seven required amputations, with the remaining 24 all injured, some severely. The victims were 28 men, one woman and 12 children under the age of 18.

The report added that since January 1979, 65,005 victims have been recorded by the Cambodia Mine/ERW Victim Information System (CMVIS).

Seventy-nine per cent of the incidents involved landmines, with the remainder being attributed to various ERW. 30 per cent of the victims were killed and 14 per cent required amputations.

Eighty-one per cent of the victims were men, eight per cent were women, nine per cent were male children and the remaining two per cent were female children. It should be noted that 63 of the victims were never identified due to their injuries.

Senior Minister Ly Thuch, first vice-president of the CMAA, said Siem Reap town and Kralanh district in Siem Reap province will be declared mine-free in early January, as demining operators have completed their work there.

He said that in August, in collaboration with the HALO Trust, the CMAA had laid out plans to clear four districts in the province.

“The four districts are Siem Reap, Kralanh, Puok and Srey Snam. By December, the 14 minefields which covered 95ha of Siem Reap and Kralanh were cleared. They are scheduled to be declared mine-free January 16, at Siem Reap town Hall,” he added.

He continued, saying that “Thanks to support from the Samdech Techo Project for Mine Action with the slogan ‘Providing Safe Ground, Creating Smiles’, the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) will soon clear 483ha of 62 locations in the province’s Prasat Bakong district,” he continued.

On December 15, Tbong Khmum province was declared mine-free thanks to the project.

“The government is committed to addressing the problems caused by landmines, cluster munitions and ERW by implementing Cambodia’s Sustainable Development Goals 2016-2030, the National Strategic Development Plan 2019-2023, Phase Four of the Rectangular Strategy 2018-2023 and the National Strategic Plan for Mine Action 2018-2025,” said Thuch.