Deaths, Injuries From Land Mines, UXO Increased Slightly in 2002

Deaths and injuries from land mines and unexploded ordnance increased slightly in 2002 from the previous year, according to a national census of victims released Thursday by the Cambodia Mine/UXO Victim Information System .

There were 847 recorded casualties last year, up from 828 in 2001, said Ray Worner, Handicap International-Belgium’s project adviser to the Victim Information System. The 2002 figure includes six casualties recorded after the report was printed.

Of the victims in 2002, 695 were injured and 146 killed, the report states. “‘Towards Zero Victims’ is the title of this report,” Handicap International-Belgium Country Dir­ector Marc Hermant said. “Unfor­tunately, we’re still far from that.”

But researchers said they did not see the year-to-year uptick as large enough to signal a significant trend.

Battambang and Banteay Meanchey were the provinces with the most victims, recording 186 and 135 casualties, respectively. Kompong Cham and Od­dar Meanchey provinces were third with 78 casualties each.

More children were victims in 2002: 278, up from 217 child casualties in 2001.

Boys made up nearly 30 percent of all casualties, the report stated. This reflects their tendency to play with bombs, Worner said. “They like to see the explosion,” he said. He added that more than 80 percent of the child casualties were caused by unexploded ordnances.

The Victim Information System also recently released statistics for July 2003. Sixty people were injured or killed that month—a 22 percent decrease compared to July 2002.


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