25 Apr 2013 04:00
A major problem that Cambodia faces is the magnitude of landmines littered across provinces throughout the country. This is the legacy of three decades of savage war that raged in Cambodia. All sides used landmines, manufactured in China, Russia, Vietnam and the United States. Pol Pot, whose regime was responsible for the deaths of approximately 1.7 million Cambodians between 1975 and 1979, reportedly called land mines his “perfect soldiers.” The landmines in Cambodia were placed by 3 different factions the Khmer Rouge, the Heng Samrin and Hun Sen regimes) that clashed throughout the Civil War in Cambodia in the 1970s. They were layed throughout every province of the country and are for many people who live in rural areas still a daily threat. A common problem that the Khmer people faced with the anti-personnel mines is that in many cases even the people who planted the mines could not remember where they had placed them. The CMAC [Cambodian Mine Action Centre] work day and night ridding Cambodia of the millions of landmines and unexploded ordnance that still litter the country, clearing agricultural land and enabling the people who live in the effected areas to once again work the land and ultimately break the cycle of poverty.
The Cambodian government is supplying 3% of the funds needed to run CMAC's demining operations throughout the country. Recent estimates show that there may be as many as four to six million mines and unexploded devices left undetected in Cambodia although some estimates run as high as 10 million. In the 1st 3 months of 2013 CMAC reported that there have been 24 injuries, 14 amputees and 4 fatalities due to this still ever present threat.