Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Cambodia’s Most Dangerous Job?

Working in the fields isn’t typically considered a dangerous job. But with plantations still littered with unexploded ordnance, some Cambodians are looking for companies to step up.

The Diplomat May 30, 2012

Frustration grips Von Tha’s face as she fumbles with a hand that no longer works. Ron Run says that seeing his wife’s physical and mental struggle has, for him, been one of the hardest parts of the family’s ordeal. Two months since the explosion at a cassava plantation in Kratie, and the group of five are still feeling its effects. It’s a case that underscores the danger for workers at contaminated sites.

In Cambodia, companies and landowners can choose whether or not to clear areas used for commercial purposes such as agriculture, mining or ecotourism. With improved access to previously difficult to reach areas comes increased economic interest in utilising the land. Accidents on land used for enterprise illustrate the importance of ensuring known-risk areas are cleared of explosive remnants of war (ERW) before workers can enter the site and start tilling the soil.

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June 4, 2012 Posted by | Bomb Disposal, Cambodia, Civilian Contractors, Demining, ERW, Explosive Remnants of War, Landmines, Mine Clearance, Safety and Security Issues, UXO | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Landmines kill 20, injure 75 Cambodians in 5 months

Peoples Daily

Cambodia has seen 95 landmine casualties in the first five months of this year, with 20 killed and other 75 injured, a report said on Tuesday.

According to the report from the Cambodian Mine and Explosive Remnants of War Victim Information System, from 1979 to May 2011, a total of 63,901 mine/ERW casualties were recorded. Of the casualties, 19,595 were killed and 44,306 injured from mine/ERW accidents.

It added that 81 percent of the victims were men, 8 percent were women, and 11 percent were children.

Cambodia is one of most mine affected nations in the world as the result of 30 years of armed conflict. Mines had been laid in Cambodia during the decades of chronic conflicts from the late 1960s to the mid-1990s.

Cambodia’s five most mine-laid provinces are Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, Pailin and Preah Vihear.

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June 30, 2011 Posted by | Cambodia, Demining, ERW, Explosive Remnants of War, Landmines, Mine Clearance | , , , , , | Leave a comment

CAMBODIA-THAILAND: Border dispute hits de-mining efforts

BANGKOK, 7 June 2011 (IRIN) Cambodia’s ongoing border dispute with Thailand is undermining mine-clearance activities inside the country, specialists say.

“The lack of clearance along parts of the border stops the removal of mines, leading to more casualties,” Cameron Imber, programme manager for the British demining NGO Halo Trust, told IRIN from the northwestern town of Siem Reap.

The heavily mined border area in the country’s northwest includes a 1,065km long minefield known as “K5”, which runs along the 798km Thai-Cambodian border. Laid by the north Vietnamese in the mid-1980s, K5 runs all the way from Koh Kong Province in the southwest up to Preah Vihear in the northwest.

Packed with up to 2,400 mines per linear km, K5 remains excluded from mine-removal programmes because the two countries have been at loggerheads over ownership of an ancient Hindu temple and UN World Heritage site on the Cambodian side of the border. Thousands were displaced on both sides earlier this year.

“The suspension of operations on K5 stems from the beginning of hostilities over the Preah Vihear temple dating back to the summer of 2009,” Imber said.

Heavy contamination

Since 2007, almost 6,500 landmine casualties have been reported nationwide, 90 percent of which occurred in the border areas. Nearly half, 2,925 casualties, were in the untouched K5 minefield, according to the Landmine Cluster Munition Monitor, an initiative providing research for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and the Cluster Munition Coalition.

“K5 is the most densely mine-contaminated area in Cambodia, and one of the most [contaminated] in the world,” said Yeshua Moser-Pangsuwan, research coordinator for ICBL, an advocacy network for the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty.

Mined areas within, and directly adjacent to, the disputed border areas are not being cleared because the two countries have been unable to agree where the border is located, Moser-Pangsuwan noted.

“Proposals for joint demining cannot commence until Thailand and Cambodia reach a mutual understanding of the border demarcation,” he said.

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June 7, 2011 Posted by | Cambodia, Demining | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anti-tank mine kills 14 villagers in western Cambodia

Landmine accident kills 14 in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, Nov. 17 (UPI) — A homemade truck ran over a landmine in Cambodia killing 14 people including a 6-month-old infant, police said Wednesday.

The incident occurred in Battambang province in Northwestern Cambodia, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported.

The local chief of police said in addition to the infant the dead included eight women and five men.

“Twelve people instantly died at the explosion and the other two died while being sent to the hospital,” said Bin Sambo, police chief of Banan district.

Sambo said the truck was returning from a farm when it ran over the anti-tank mine at 5:15 p.m., local time, Tuesday.

Earth Times
Phnom Penh – An anti-tank mine exploded under a truck in western Cambodia killing all 14 people aboard, a demining official confirmed Wednesday.
Chhiv Lim, project manager at the Cambodia Mines/ERW Victim Information System said details of Tuesday’s incident in Battambang province were still unclear.

“The people were coming back from farming to their village in the truck, and on the way the truck ran over the anti-tank mine which exploded,” he said.
“Among the 14 people killed were some children, but we don’t know how many,” he said, adding that his staff were heading to the area to investigate.
Earlier Wednesday, the demining project said 53 people were killed and 181 injured by mines and unexploded ordnance during the first 10 months of the year, up 13 per cent from a year earlier.
More than 60 per cent of this year’s casualties were men, most of whom were harmed by mines. Boys comprise around a quarter of victims, mostly from playing with unexploded ordnance.
Nearly 200 Cambodian mine experts and engineers travelled to Lebanon on Wednesday to support the UN Interim Force there.
In June, another Cambodian team joined UN troops in Sudan.
Cambodia was one of the most heavily mined nations in the world. Over half of this year’s accidents took place in the far western region.
More than 63,700 people have been killed or injured in Cambodia by explosives since the ouster of the Khmer Rouge government in 1979.

November 17, 2010 Posted by | Cambodia, Demining | , , , , | Leave a comment

CAMBODIA: Rise in mine casualties delays clearance

IRIN Humanitarian News and Anyalysis

PAILIN, 21 October 2010 (IRIN) – Van Theang, 41, a former soldier in Cambodia’s western Pailin Province, remembers what happened in 1991: “I was walking along and hit a trip-wire. I had been told to watch out for mines but I wasn’t expecting any in that particular area. This just happened a lot in those years.”

Under similar circumstances, while patrolling in Oddar Meanchey Province, along the 800km Thai border north of Pailin, soldier Sim Pheat stepped on a landmine that also destroyed his leg. But it happened just last month – a reminder that these remnants of war still exact a heavy toll.

A spike in landmine casualties in May – at 50, the highest monthly count since August 2007 – underlined what government and UN officials say is the reality that Cambodia will need longer to fulfil its pledged de-mining commitment.

“Cambodia still has a big challenge in the next 10 to 15 years,” Oum Phumro, secretary-general of the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC), the government body in charge of mine clearance, told IRIN.

Some 40,000 Cambodians have been maimed by landmines and unexploded ordnances (UXOs) since 1979. Landmine casualties have fallen dramatically, from 1,691 in 1993 to 244 last year, according to the government.

However, the rise in cases in May means 2010 is likely to be costlier than last year. From January to August, there were 207 casualties from landmines and UXOs, against 186 for the same period last year, according to Lim Chhiv, project manager of the Cambodian Mine/Explosive Remnants of War Victim Information System.

Millions cleared, millions remaining

From 1992 to 2009, some 800,000 anti-personnel mines, 19,000 anti-tank mines and 1.7 million UXOs were cleared, according to the Cambodian Mine Action Authority.

Melissa Sabatier, the UN Development Programme’s mine action project manager in Cambodia, said the country’s progress had been impressive.

“Previously, Cambodia had one of the highest levels of [UXO] contamination in the world, but now it has a prospering tourism sector and receives delegations from dozens of other countries affected by [UXOs] to learn from its experiences,” she said.

However, as millions of explosive devices still litter the Southeast Asian nation, total clearance will take longer than expected.

Last December, Cambodia’s agreement to comply with the Ottawa Treaty, which bans the use of all landmines, was extended to 2019. In their request for this extension, Cambodian authorities said some 650 sqkm would require clearance over a period of 12-13 years.

Funding shortfall

“If we want to reach the goal in the next 10 years, we need more resources and funding,” Phumro said. “We have a number of committed donors but the funding is starting to dry up,” he said.

The shortfall, added Sabatier, is a “general trend across all sectors – and across the globe” following the worldwide economic downturn in 2008 and 2009.

According to a 2009 report by the UN, Portfolio of Mine Action Projects, there was a worldwide shortfall of nearly US$437 million for mine-clearance projects.

October 21, 2010 Posted by | Cambodia, Demining, United Nations | , , , , , | Leave a comment