Cambodia is known for being the site of U.S. bomb droppings during the Vietnam War and for the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime, which also planted land mines from 1975 to 1979. Today a majority of Cambodia’s population is age 35 or younger, which means most of the population has grown up since the Khmer Rouge regime ended in 1979. This statistic fails to take into account the uneven distribution of the regime’s end in the country as fighting continued in the northwest of the country where the Vietnamese and their Cambodian allies fought to keep the Khmer Rouge army out of the country.
Most of the land mines in Cambodia were planted between 1985 and 1989, when the Vietnamese-allied government installed a “bamboo curtain” against the invading Thai and Khmer Rouge along the Thai-Cambodia border in the northwest. This area, called the K5 belt, remains the most densely land-mine-contaminated region of the world, a 1,046-kilometer (650-mile) strip of land with “up to 2,400 mines per linear kilometer.” Cambodia’s problem of millions of undetonated land mines makes it the country with the highest population of amputees in the world. On average it has 100 land mine accidents per year.