MAG Cambodia at 20
MAG has been working in Cambodia since 1992 to reduce the risk of death and injury from remnants of conflict, and open up land for development.
Why MAG is needed in Cambodia
As a result of nearly three decades of conflict, Cambodia remains one of the countries most severely affected by landmines.
With about 80 per cent of the rural population being dependent on agriculture or related activities, in addition to the physical danger thousands of Cambodians remain socially and economically disadvantaged by the threat of landmines, cluster munitions, air-dropped bombs and other unexploded ordnance (UXO).
These lethal remnants of conflict present a major impediment to Cambodia’s economic growth. In recognition of this, mine and UXO clearance is a high priority for the Royal Government of Cambodia, proven by their inclusion of clearance in National Development Strategic Plans and in the established ninth Cambodian Millennium Development Goal for landmine and UXO clearance and victim assistance.
Despite ongoing mine clearance activities for two decades, landmines and UXO continue to inhibit development progress and kill and maim people throughout Cambodia.
There are thought to have been more than 27,000 landmine and UXO casualties since MAG began operations in 1992. In recent years, casualty figures showed an annual downward trend, with the Cambodian Mine/UXO Victim Information System recording 352 landmine and UXO casualties in 2007, 271 casualties in 2008 and 243 in 2009.
However, in 2010 this figure rose again, to 286. This rise can partly be attributed to two serious anti-tank mine accidents during 2010 – one in Palin in May, and a second in Battambang in November – that between them killed or injured 30 people.
Figures for January-December 2011 showed casualties numbering 2111 , and the most recent 2012 figures (January-June) showed there have already been 104 casualties. Battambang Province, where MAG primarily operates, is by far the most impacted region, recording 27 per cent of all casualties in 2011-12.
1 Cambodia Mine Victims Information System (CMVIS) monthly report, December 2011, pg.5
Your donation to MAG helps us to move into current and former conflict zones to clear the
remnants of conflict, enabling recovery and assisting the development
of affected populations.
How to donate and where your money goes
How MAG is helping in Cambodia
From November 1992 to July 2012, MAG Cambodia released 560km2 of land back to communities, and found and destroyed more than 64,000 landmines and 185,000-plus items of UXO, including cluster munitions and light weapons. This work directly benefited more than a million people, from 210,000 families.
MAG’s clearance and Mine Risk Education activities helps local populations reclaim ownership of their land and provides them with the knowledge to help reduce accidents in the future.
Areas previously hindered by the presence, or suspected presence, of landmines and UXO can, following MAG's work, be used for population resettlement, the construction of wells, schools and health centres, improvements to roads, and increasing access to plots of agricultural land.
MAG’s Humanitarian Mine Action activities are determined by clearance plans and priorities are developed in partnership with local communities, national and local government, and development partners.
In this way, we are able to identify land that is most needed by people, then safely clear and release the safe land fordevelopment, directly assisting the Royal Government of Cambodia in achieving the Cambodian Millennium Development Goals.
We have teams of highly-trained deminers clearing land in the provinces of Battambang, Banteay Meanchey and Pailin in the north-west of Cambodia. The programme has an in-country headquarters in Phnom Penh and an established field base in Battambang.
We focus on clearing prioritised land for productive and safe community use to the benefit of vulnerable communities. Forty-five per cent of land cleared to date has been in support of agriculture, 28 per cent for resettlement and 27 per cent for infrastructure development.
In 2009, MAG returned to Phlov Meas, Battambang Province, almost 12 months after two minefields in the village had been cleared. According to the community chief, Vai Chamroeun, more than 90 per cent of his community earn a living by growing corn, sugar cane, beans and sesame. He said that before the clearance took place, few crops were grown.
“Villagers were afraid of mines so they didn’t expand the land for cultivation. Now their lives are getting better. It’s not as hard as it was before. Today, people live in safety.” With support from World Vision, three wells have also been dug and water filters have been given to the village. Plans to dig a pond for the community are also underway. “I feel very happy now and expect that my village will continue to develop."
MAG Cambodia's headquarters are based in Phnom Penh, with a regional office in Battambang.
More about MAG's work in Cambodia
Video: Alleviating rural poverty in Pailin [Working in tandem with our partner CARE in one of the poorest provinces]
Cambodia report (2011) [PDF]
Page last updated: August 2012