The Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) revealed that in 2023, over 30 individuals experienced the impact of explosive ordnance, marking a 24 per cent decrease from the same period in 2022.

CMAA spokesman Lang Kosal shared on December 11 that from January to early December, 31 people encountered the effects of landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW). Of these, 16 were victims of landmines, while the remaining 15 were affected by ERW.

Of the 31 casualties, he noted, four lost their lives, 18 sustained injuries and nine faced disabilities. These incidents occurred predominantly in the provinces of Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, Battambang and Ratanakkiri.

The 2023 victim count reflects a 24 per cent decrease compared to the corresponding period in 2022, which recorded 41 victims.

“The drop in the victim count can be directly attributed to the concerted efforts of the government and all operators to improve mine clearance operations and raise awareness regarding mine risk and unexploded ordnance,” he said.

While the casualties from ERW have decreased this year, Kosal noted that the CMAA has successfully conducted mine clearance operations across the country since 1992.

The Kingdom has declared Phnom Penh and the provinces of Stung Treng, Kep, Prey Veng, Preah Sihanouk, Kandal, Tbong Khmum, Kampong Cham, Svay Rieng, Kampong Chhnang, Takeo, Kampot, Mondulkiri and Kampong Speu as mine-free.

Nine other provinces are currently undergoing landmine clearance operations. These include Siem Reap, Ratanakkiri, Battambang, Koh Kong, Pursat, Pailin, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey and Preah Vihear.

He said that the CMAA had demined a vast area of 2,795 sq km, encompassing landmines and ERW, with the detection of over 4 million munitions. These demining efforts have brought benefits to 11 million people.

“With these accomplishments, we had the great honour of hosting the Third Global Conference on Assistance to the Victims of Anti-Personnel Mines and Other Explosive Ordnance in a Disability Rights Context, and Cambodia is scheduled to host the upcoming Siem Reap-Angkor Summit on a Mine-Free World in November 2024,” he said.