The Problem in Cambodia

 Posted by at 4:46 AM
Sep 172012
 

~ Cluster munitions and landmines are brutal reminders
of the horrors of war for the people of Cambodia ~

The U.S. invasion and bombing of Cambodia happened more than 40 years ago as part of the conflict in Vietnam but the cluster munitions that were dropped then still explode and people, especially children, lose eyes, limbs and lives. 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 Cambodia1

  • From the years of 1964 through 1973 over 2 million tons of ordnance was dropped by United States bombers over Cambodia, the most bombed location in the world to date2
  • These bombs and mines are remnants of the Vietnam War and are there secondary to America’s actions during the Menu Campaign that occurred from 1964-1973.
  • 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,3 and one of the highest casualty rates of any country with nearly 20,000 deaths from 1979 to July 2012
  • The National Level One Survey in Cambodia conducted in 2002 found that 20% of all villages in Cambodia are still contaminated by minefields and/or cluster bomb areas with reported adverse socio-economic impacts on the community4
  • These adverse impacts included restrictions on access to agricultural land, pasture land, forests, and water resources, with more than 500,000 families being affected respectively5
  • 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.6
  • It has been estimated that 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 any other cause6

Photo Courtesy of MAG International

 

What It Will Take to Demine Cambodia:

The Cambodian Mine Action Authority (CMAA) estimates that the combined cost for demining operations, including technical assistance and in kind contributions for Cambodia are approximately $30 million per year7. Experts also estimate that Cambodia will need another 10 to 20 years to clear the mines8 if the current level of funding is maintained.

1. “Ten Years Achievement and Perspective”. http://www.cmac.gov.kh/userfiles/file/ten-years.pdf.
2. http://www.yale.edu/cgp/Walrus_CambodiaBombing_OCT06.pdf
3. “Landmines in Cambodia”. http://www.seasite.niu.edu/khmer/Ledgerwood/Landmines.htm.
4. “CAMBODIA NATIONAL LEVEL 1 SURVEY”. http://www.sac-na.org/pdf_text/cambodia/Statistical%20Summary.htm.
5.”Reports of Socio Economic Impacts”. http://www.sacna.org/pdf_text/cambodia/socio%20economic%20impacts.htm.
6. “National Plan of Action for Persons with Disabilities, including Landmine/ERW Survivors”. http://www.apminebanconvention.org/fileadmin/pdf/mbc/MSP/9MSP/day4/9MSP-Item12d-27Nov2008-Cambodia-NationalPlan.pdf.
7. “Mine Action Funding”. http://www.the-monitor.org/index.php/publications/display?url=lm/2003/cambodia.html#fn717.
8. “Mineaction on Cambodia”. http://www.mineaction.org/country.asp?c=6.

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