Some good news today out of Cambodia: Landmine accident deaths and injuries are dropping. In 2013, 23 people lost their lives to landmines versus 45 in 2012. Injuries to landmines were also down from 186 in 2012 to 111 last year. Officials attribute the drop to aggressive demining efforts taking place across the country.
"Heng Ratana, director-general of the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC), CMAA’s demining arm and the largest deminer in the country, attributed much of the drop to the completion of a years-long survey of mine and UXO contamination across the country in early 2013. He said the survey has given deminers better data than ever before on where to focus their efforts." (source)
Much of the success can also be attributed to better communication between Cambodian citizens and the government. Ratana said that over 13,000 reports of unexploded ordnance were received by CMAC in 2013 alone.
These numbers are cold comfort to those 111 injured last year, 21 requiring amputations. While landmine accident rates are dropping around the world, the surivors of those accidents still require care, many for years and some for the rest of their lives. That is why Clear Path International's work is so important. While accident rates drop, survivor numbers still increase each year.
Southeast Asia Program Manager, Jay Sklar recently write about CPI's work in Cambodia a previous blog post:
There was a landmine accident in Oddar Meanchey last week that injured seven people, so our work here is very important and pressing.
CPI is working directly with Cambodia Mine Action Authority (CMAA) to establish ERW survivor networks throughout the country so that we can best assist accident survivors and prevent future accidents, like the one in Oddar Meanchey.
Through personal interviews with ERW survivors, CPI will then provide services including, medical treatments for new victims, care for previous victims and sustainable livelihoods development through CPI programs that help create on-going income-generation activities for these victims of conflict. (Read the rest of Jay's post here)
While the numbers are dropping in Cambodia, landmine survivors still need our support. You can help CPI by making a donation online and joining us in our work.