Land mines in Cambodia

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Cambodia is a country located in South East Asia that has a major problem with landmines, especially in rural areas. This is the legacy of three decades of war which has taken a severe toll on the Cambodians; it has some 40,000 amputees, which is one of the highest rates in the world.[1] The Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) estimates that there may be as many as four to six million mines and other pieces of unexploded ordnance in Cambodia.[2]

The Chinese made landmines in Cambodia were placed by the Cambodian factions (including the Lon Nol, Khmer Rouge, the Heng Samrin and Hun Sen regimes, as well as the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea who, with international support retained the UN seat throughout much of the 1980s) which clashed during the Civil War in Cambodia in the 1970s and 1980s. They were placed in the whole territory of the country. A common problem Cambodians faced with the anti-personnel mines is that often even the people who placed the mines do not remember them a couple of years later.[citation needed]

Casualty Rates[edit]

2010 casualty statistics from the Cambodian Mine Victim Information Service (CMVIS) show, that Cambodia had one of the highest casualty rates in the world.[2] As of November 2017 the number of casualties in 2013 was 111, consisting of 22 persons killed and 89 injured.[3] One-third of the casualties have been children, and almost all of them are boys, with studies showing that men and boys tend to be more willing than women to play with or examine explosives.[4] of surviving landmine victims 87% are males over 15 years old, with a mean age of 28 years. In Afghanistan, 73% are males between ages 16 to 50, and 20% of the victims are male children."[5]

"ICRC statistics claim that only 25% of mine victims arrive at hospital within 6 hours of being injured with 15% having to travel for more than 3 days before they reach a hospital."[5] During the first half of 2016, the number of people killed in landmine incidents nearly doubled, with 20 deaths compared to 11 for the same period in 2015, though injuries declined by almost half, from 55 to 29.[6]

Social consequences[edit]

The high numbers of victims of working age affecting entire families represent a considerable burden on families' capacity for raising income and educating their children. The social consequences of land mines which Cambodia experiences poses a considerable social and economic problem. It exposes the vulnerability of the health system and the lack of a support strategy. For a family with a very low income, to have a member lose a limb and no access to good health care, and no governmental aid makes the dangers of land mines a much heavier burden on the Cambodian community. "Landmines, just by their sheer number alone in a particular area, can influence the population's behaviour. This in turn may result in an overall deterioration of public health and other aspects of social wellbeing. Farmers with mines, or those who only "perceive" the presence of landmines on their land will not be able to cultivate the land. This will lead to food scarcity and eventually even malnutrition." [5]

Socioeconomic effects[edit]

The National Level One Survey in Cambodia conducted in 2002 found that 20% (2776 out of 13908) of all villages in Cambodia are still contaminated by minefields and/or cluster bomb areas with reported adverse socio-economic impacts on the community.[7] These adverse impacts included restrictions on access to agricultural land, pasture land, forests, and water resources, with 102,778, 105,707, 172,878 and 84,588 families being affected respectively.[8]

A 2004 Cambodia Socio Economic Survey (CSES) noted that households headed by someone with one or more reported disabilities have significantly less wealth than other households. Households headed by a person disabled by war or landmines live in poverty at levels almost three times higher than if the disability was due to other causes.[9]

Demining efforts[edit]

Currently,[when?] there are four (main) demining organizations working in Cambodia: The Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC), established by the Supreme National Council of Cambodia in 1992, the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), The HALO Trust, and the Mines Advisory Group (MAG).[3][dead link] The Cambodian Mine Action Authority or Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) was established in late 2000 as a regulatory authority to coordinate all demining, and establish policies and procedures.[2]:4 Finding the location of the mines with no witness or map record is a very difficult task that needs very specific tools, and demands a lot of time, and trained staff, and therefore also a lot of investment. Currently,[when?] most of the remaining mines are frequently found in the fields. Nowadays identifying the areas with mines and clearing them is carried out in the North West of the country, where most of the remaining mines are found.[3][dead link]

In 2003, CMAA estimated that the combined cost for demining operations, including technical assistance and in kind contributions for Cambodia were about $40 million per year.[10] Experts estimated that Cambodia would need another 10 to 20 years to clear the mines if the current level of funding was maintained.[3][dead link]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Landmines in Cambodia". Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Ten Years Achievement and Perspective" (PDF). 2010. p. 29.
  3. ^ a b c d "Mineaction on Cambodia". n.d. Archived from the original on 18 March 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  4. ^ "Fewer Casualties From Mines in Cambodia, but Reduced Funding Means Risk Remains". February 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Coupland, Robin M.,. (August 1997). "Assistance for Victims of Anti-personnel Mines: Needs, Constraints and Strategy". Tim Grant, ICRC Geneva. Retrieved 19 November 2017.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ "Landmine deaths". Phnom Penh Post. 20 August 2016. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  7. ^ "CAMBODIA NATIONAL LEVEL 1 SURVEY". Archived from the original on 11 June 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  8. ^ "Reports of Socio Economic Impacts". Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  9. ^ "National Plan of Action for Persons with Disabilities, including Landmine/ERW Survivors" (PDF). The Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention. Cambodia National Plan. 27 Nov 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-04.
  10. ^ "Mine Action Funding". International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Retrieved 19 November 2017.

External links[edit]