Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mine casualties up in June

Mine casualties up in June

Mine casualties up in June

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Injuries and fatalities have been in decline this year but rose 17 percent last month over June 2008 with 21 total casualties.

Photo by: Heng Chivoan

A CMAC deminer works on a land-mine clearance project in Battambang province in this April file photo.

THE number of people injured or killed by land mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) this past June was 17 percent higher than last year's figure, according to a recent report from the Cambodia Mine/UXO Victim Information System (CMVIS).

The report, released Thursday, stated that of 21 total casualties, 12 people were injured, two lost limbs and seven were killed.

Heng Ratana, director general of the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC), said the June figures were a deviation from the long-term decline in casualties in recent years, though he noted that figures from month to month were unpredictable.

"It [the number of casualties] is irregular ... because the mines are in the ground, no one knows where they are," he said.

The report stated that there were 150 casualties between January and June this year, a 13-percent decrease compared with the same period last year.

Heng Ratana said his officers continued to respond to emergency calls from citizens to clear mines that they have found, which he said helps to reduce the number of casualties.

"If we did not have forces to respond to emergency calls, the number of casualties would be greater," he said.

He noted that the provinces most affected were Battambang, Pursat, Pailin, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey and Preah Vihear.

Net Nath, a CMAC deputy manager in Battambang, said nine people have died in that province so far this year and that 39 have been injured by land mines or ERW.

He said his officers have been trying to reduce the casualty rate by making residents of the province more aware of the risks there.

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