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Mine casualties top last year

Mine casualties top last year

CAMBODIA has registered its first year-on-year increase in casualties resulting from landmines and explosive remnants of war since 2005, according to a report from the Cambodia Mine/ERW Victim Information System released yesterday.

The number of people either killed or injured has increased nearly 20 percent over the first 11 months of this year, compared with the same period last year. Even with December figures forthcoming, the 260 casualties recorded by CMVIS so far this year eclipse 2009’s total of 244.

According to the report, 70 people have been killed and 190 injured, including 41 amputees, through November.

Chivv Lim, project manager for CMVIS, said the spike in casualties was in part fuelled “by two significant cases”.

“One is the case in May in Pailin province, when 16 people were killed or injured by an anti-tank mine. There was also an accident in Battambang in November,” said Chivv Lim, referring to an incident that killed 14 people after a homemade tractor ran over a civil war-era anti-tank mine.

Over the past two years, Battambang province has recorded nearly double the number of casualties as Banteay Meanchey province, which has the second-highest totals. Two-thirds of November’s 24 casualties happened to farmers.

Speaking with The Post in October, Leng Sochea, deputy secretary general of the Cambodian Mines Action Authority, said the increase in casualties was possibly due to electrical workers installing power cables.

Through April, landmine and ERW-related casualties were down by nearly 25 percent compared with the same period last year. The trend was reversed with 51 casualties in May, the highest monthly total since August 2007.

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