The Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) issued an advisory on Friday, March 15, that urges people not to handle or tamper with any UXOs they might find.
An example of what may happen was posted on Facebook by Heng Ratana, general director of the CMAC. The explosion of a 105mm artillery shell on Saturday morning killed Pheap Phal, 59, and injured his 4 year-old grandchild. The smith lived in Tboung Khmum district and had the UXO in his workshop for unknown reasons.
The first two months of 2019 saw neigh on 30 people die or suffer injuries as a result of contact with unexplored ordnance (UXO). This marked increase in incidents/accidents is due to land clearing activities, timber harvesting, poaching, and even purposely unearthing landmines to use for blast fishing.
From January to March 14, 29 people were killed or injured by landmines. In only three days, Mach 12-14, four incidents occurred; two persons were killed and three injured.
The CMAC advisory read: “In order to reduce mine and UXO accidents, you must immediately report to police, local authorities or the closest demining unit what you have found. Do not make something from un-exploded devices, and ask the authorities, or people who have the needed information, that you want to cultivate the [not-demined] land area, or cross the area for timber harvesting.”
The CMAA also asks all provinces, districts, demining operators, teachers and stakeholders to further heighten awareness for the existence of landmines and explosive remnants of war in the target areas, especially by informing those who live and work there.