Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - More villagers ill in Koki after bomb exposure




More villagers ill in Koki after bomb exposure

Cambodian Mine Action Centre officials remove a US chemical bomb in Svay Rieng’s Koki commune.
Cambodian Mine Action Centre officials remove a US chemical bomb in Svay Rieng’s Koki commune. Photo supplied

More villagers ill in Koki after bomb exposure

Seventeen villagers from Svay Rieng’s Koki commune were sent to the provincial hospital yesterday to receive treatment for skin conditions officials said were caused by long exposure to American CS tear gas bombs.

Health Ministry officials have descended on the commune after Prime Minister Hun Sen lashed out at the US for its Vietnam War era legacy, in particular, 1970s-era tear gas bombs.

Koki commune council member Sar Hun yesterday said the 17 new victims suffered from skin conditions such as rashes.

“They were exposed to the chemical substance when they were herding their cattle and doing farming,” he said.

Read more: The day ‘the sky became smoke white’

The first of the 15 bombs were reported to officials in January, though locals had long known of their whereabouts. Koki Commune Chief Kem Sam Oeun said many villagers were exposed unwittingly and experienced symptoms over the course of years.

“Some people played with it or hit it, so the chemical just spread out and when they go near, they sneezed and choked up, and their eyes also hurt,” she said.

Chemical weapons expert Richard Guthrie said chronic itchiness from tear gas is a “plausible possibility”, but noted there is “little published research on long-term low-level exposures to CS”.

Ke Rotha, head of the provincial Health Department, said the victims may be sent to Phnom Penh, adding that they had “black and white spots on the skin and their skin is itchy”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Chikungunya hits 15 provinces, says gov’t

    Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Thursday that the chikungunya outbreak in the Kingdom has spread to 15 provinces. Some 1,700 people are now suspected to have the disease. Vandine urged people to prevent its further spread by eliminating shelters for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

  • Body of woman killed in Bangkok returns

    The Cambodian embassy in Thailand is working to repatriate the body of a casino dealer who was shot dead in Bangkok on Monday night. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Kuy Kuong told The Post on Wednesday that officials are preparing paperwork to

  • Gov’t exempts visa A and B holders from Covid fees

    Airline passengers who are diplomats and officials of international organisations holding Type A and B visas for travel to Cambodia are exempted from paying Covid-19 testing fees, said the Ministry of Health in its latest adjustment of rules on Wednesday. Health Minister Mam Bun Heng

  • All inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

    Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1. Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as