During the first 10 months of this year, there were 41 cases involving landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) in Cambodia, which resulted in 55 casualties. Of the number, 16 people were killed.

Last year, 11 people were killed and 60 were injured over the same period, according to a Cambodian Mine Action Authority (CMAA) report published on Tuesday.

At the closing ceremony of a workshop summarising 2020’s demining efforts and planning for 2021 in Siem Reap province on October 27, CMAA first-vice president Ly Thuch said that out of this year’s 41 cases, 23 involved landmine accidents and the remaining 18 involved ERW.

“The victims were 34 men, 15 boys under the age of 18, three women and three girls under the age of 18,” Thuch said.

He said in the first three quarters of this year, the CMAA cleared 103.2sq km of mines and ERW. The organisation also destroyed 11,020 anti-personnel mines, 248 anti-vehicle mines and 35,771 ERW.

Thuch thanked the UN Development Programme (UNDP) for its close cooperation and technical and financial support on the demining project.

He also thanked UNICEF for its continued support with mine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) risk education.

Thuch said there are challenges that remain and cannot be completely resolved. He provided additional guidance to the CMAA General Secretariat to continue implementing the National Strategic Plan for Mine Action 2018-2025.

It is part of the government’s Rectangular Strategy and the hope is that Cambodia will be landmine-free by 2025.

Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) director-general Heng Ratana said landmines remain a big issue in the country.

“Between 1993 and 1998, landmines and ERW killed and injured more than 4,000 people per year, becoming the number one killer in Cambodia,” he said.

Ratana added that CMAC has been the main force fighting to demine the country and its efforts had reduced the number of mine victims to less than 100 per year.

He said due to the development of transportation and infrastructure, traffic deaths have become the number one danger to Cambodian lives.