SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA (XINHUA) – Cambodia has cleared roughly 2,554 square kilometres of landmine and explosive remnants of war (ERW) contaminated land in the last 30 years, benefitting more than nine million people, a senior official said yesterday.
First vice president of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) Ly Thuch, made the remarks during a meeting with mine clearance operators and donors in Siem Reap province.
“With this clearance effort from 1992 to 2022, over 1.15 million anti-personnel mines, more than 26,135 anti-tank mines, and three million explosive remnants of war were found and destroyed,” he said.
“These lands have been returned to communities for productive purposes such as agriculture, resettlement, roads, schools and other social infrastructure,” he added.
Thuch said the Southeast Asian country currently needs to clear the remaining more than 700 square kilometres of land contaminated by mines and ERW by 2025.
“Throughout Cambodia, around one million people still live in fear and work in areas contaminated by mines and ERW,” he said.
“Your commitment is critically important at this stage as we consolidate our efforts and aim to achieve a mine-free Cambodia by 2025,” he added.
Cambodia is one of the countries worst-affected by landmines and ERW. An estimated four million to six million landmines and other munitions have been left over from three decades of war and internal conflicts that ended in 1998.
According to the Yale University, between 1965 and 1973, the United States dropped some 230,516 bombs on 113,716 sites in Cambodia. The CMAA said from 1979 to 2022, landmine and ERW explosions have claimed 19,818 lives and either injured or amputated 45,187 others in Cambodia.