Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Landmines causing havoc on northern battlefields




Landmines causing havoc on northern battlefields

Landmines causing havoc on northern battlefields

W AR victims are filling the rancid, fly-blown wards and hallways of the Military

hospital in Phnom Penh.

The lucky ones have family to dress their wounds and bathe them in the toilet

block or from water drums outside.

Most of the patients are amputees, or soon will be. Most still wear their

soldier's uniform.

Hospital director Kao Try said there were 714 injured soldiers in the 500-bed

hospital, 60 or 70 per cent of them amputees. The numbers had risen sharply over

the last few weeks. On average, one out of every hundred will die under the

knife.

The wounded were in the capital because the provincial hospitals lacked staff

and supplies, he said.

Their stories pinpoint the current "hot-spots" more

thoroughly than any governmental briefing: Preah Vihear, Battambang, Anlong

Veng, Kulen, Siem Reap.

Som Sary, 32, was ordered to Preah Vihear with 150 comrades from Stung Treng

in December. On Feb. 12 he was asked to head a demining team - with no hi-tech

equipment, just bamboo "feeling" rods - after his company had been cut off. He

lost his right leg that same day.

"It is a very bad situation," he said of Preah Vihear. "There are many mines,

so many mines. Many soldiers don't want to fight. Some have run away."

Sary described an area saturated by mines and crude but effective body traps,

with KP making quick, demoralizing attacks after mines had been detonated. "Many

soldiers have had accidents with mines."

Seng Sok, 28, lay on the hallway,

his right leg missing to the knee from a mine in Som Rorng district, Siem

Reap.

He said the Khmer Rouge strategy was to divide into small hit-and-run groups.

New mines and booby traps were prevalent.

"Sometimes, we fight three or four times a day against the KR. I know it is

very dangerous but I have no excuse because it is my duty."

Sok said he was transported by helicopter to the Phnom Penh because the

provincial hospital had no medicines, but he was being treated poorly in the

Phnom Penh hospital.

"I haven't got any bottles of serum. They said I am still strong enough, that

I don't need serum or vitamin."

But he smiled when he said there was enough hospital food, which was

different from the battlefield.

Dr Try said there was no bilateral or NGO

assistance for the military hospital.

The hospital only had antibiotics and bandages, but very few anti-malarial

medicines.

One soldier gave the Post a letter saying that some hospital staff asked for

money.

Dr Try said that he had never asked a soldier to pay money. "I don't think

our staff asked any patients for money. If I found out, I would free them from

their jobs immediately."

Try told the Post that Price Norodom Ranariddh has pledge $1 million from the

military budget to equip the hospital with modern equipment and techniques.

MOST VIEWED

  • Tourists urged not to skip trip

    The Ministry of Tourism has called on international tourists not to cancel trips to Cambodia, but urged them to adhere to several dos and don’ts when arriving in the Kingdom during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministry released an eight-point instruction manual on Wednesday published

  • The taxman cometh – Cambodia’s capital gains tax casts the net on individual taxpayers

    In a country where only limited personal income tax existed, the new taxation law beginning January 1, 2021, will make taxpayers out of Cambodians, whether they are ready for it or not About two years ago, a little known amendment was made to Article 7 of the Law

  • Cambodian-American gets Star Trek treatment

    Kevin Ung, a Cambodian-American whose family escaped genocide during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, was recently selected from thousands of applicants to participate in the Television Academy Foundation’s inaugural 2020 Star Trek Command Training Programme, a course intended to give hands-on filmmaking experience

  • Cambodia seeks to be transport hub

    Cambodia is working on several fronts to modernise its transport infrastructure and services, concentrating on opening new international gates to relieve and balance traffic congestion at its borders, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said on Thursday. This is part of the Kingdom’

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped