2007 Landmine Monitoring report

Landmine Monitor has published its 2007 report, which contains some interesting facts and figures about landmine use around the world.

You can read the full Landmine Monitor report by following this link:
www.icbl.org/lm/2007

Cambodia remains one of the worst landmine-affected countries in the world, with around 43,000 landmine survivors in need of support so they can participate in society. The Cambodia report can be found here:
http://www.icbl.org/lm/2007/cambodia.html. The Cambodia Trust is mentioned in the section: Survivor Assistance Strategic Framework.

Some key facts:

Cambodia is one of the countries most severely contaminated by landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW), including conventional and cluster bombs, artillery shells and abandoned explosive ordnance (AXO), as a result of nearly three decades of war.

Clearance by Cambodia’s three (landmine clearance) NGOs continued to increase in 2006, albeit at a slower rate than in 2005, and land release increased greatly, spurred by official encouragement. CMAC, HALO and MAG cleared 35.4 square kilometers of land, 15 percent more than the previous year, but they released a total of 303 square kilometers, more than triple the amount in 2005. RCAF reported it demined 70 percent more than in 2005.

In 2006 there were 450 new mine/ERW casualties in Cambodia (61 people killed and 389 injured) in 272 incidents. This decrease of nearly 50 percent from 2005 (875 casualties) prompted a survey to identify the reasons, as the casualty rate had been relatively constant (averaging 846 per year) since 2000. The survey, conducted from October to December 2006, found that the reduction was mainly due to favorable seasonal conditions improving agricultural production and, more generally, greater economic opportunities through farming and construction, such that the economic reasons for risk-taking behavior had reduced; the survey noted that poverty is “a defining factor in increasing the vulnerability of people to mine/UXO risk.” It also noted that increased community involvement in mine action planning and prioritization had addressed the socioeconomic impact of mine/ERW contamination more efficiently than before. Nearly 90 percent of survey respondents said that scrap metal trade in ERW in their villages had ceased. However, the proportion of ERW casualties remained constant between 2001 and 2006.

The cost of managing (Cambodia’s rehabilitation) centers is around $4.6 million per year and the current level of donor funding “would need to continue if present service levels are to be maintained.” However, the evaluation believed that donor funding is likely to decrease. In 2006 the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation contributed $100,000 to running the centers. The evaluation noted, “the rehabilitation sector is not a [government] priority and its funding will continue for a long time to massively depend on external assistance.”

Cambodia - Latest South East Asian tourist spot

Cambodia is witnessing a resurgence as a South-east Asian tourist destination. And its not just the temples of Angkor that are fuelling this, although the complex is noted for being one of the great archaeological sites in the world.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital, is like any modern bustling Asian city, but is visually striking, being on the confluence of two rivers and with its wide boulevards and colonial buildings that hark back to its French colonial history. Indians will feel right at home with the pedalled rickshaws that still ply the streets. You can revisit the ghosts of the ousted Khmer Rouge regime by visiting the Killing Field of Choeung Ek, and the Tuol Sleng, Pol Pot’s torture centre.

The country’s south coast, heralded for being the next Thailand (or Goa), which sweeps down along the Gulf of Siam and is studded with picture-postcard beaches and stunning offshore islands, is certainly worth a visit. The seaside towns of Kep or Koh Tonsay are particularly popular. And instead of staying in mass-market holiday apartments, you’re more likely to find yourself staying in stilted homestays or atmospheric little guesthouses.

However it is still the mighty stone faces of the Bayon temple, the moated sanctum of Angkor Wat and the great walled city of Angkor Thom that remain the country’s prime attractions. The best way to get to Angkor Wat is to take a scenic boat cruise up the Tonle Sap lake, the world’s largest inland freshwater lake, to the town of Siem Reap, near Angkor. You get to see the paddy field-dotted countryside and the villages populated by ethnic Vietnamese.

The weather currently, clear, dry and cool, is perfect to book a Christmas trip. The only hitch? No direct flights. Okay, so a weekend in Thailand on the way out won’t hurt.

The Angkor National Museum

A national museum designed to display the Khmer culture will be opened next Monday in the capital town of Cambodia's Siem Reap Province.
The Angkor National Museum, covering 20,000 square meters and built with the Khmer architecture style, will highlight the cultural heritage of the Khmer nationality through a rich collection of artifacts and multimedia exhibition.
Siem Reap province, where the world-renowned Angkor Wat temples are situated, is the kingdom's top tourism destination. The museum is expected to become another cultural landmark for the province.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen is scheduled to preside over the museum's inauguration ceremony.
It will function as a complete tourism facility and education site for future generations to know about the kingdom's history.