Landmines in Cambodia
Trip Start May 10, 2011
162Trip End Apr 15, 2012
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Some facts on Cambodia
By the end of the Khmer Rouge revolution in 1979 all educational books, equipment and facilities had been destroyed and over three quarters of the 20,000 teachers had either died or left the country
Cambodians are suffering terribly from preventable disease and the consequences of conflict:
- Life expectancy is 49.7 years
- The infant mortality rate is 120 per 1,000 live births
- Only 12 per cent of the population in rural areas and 21 per cent in urban areas have access to safe drinking water
The slaughter by the Khmer Rouge of an estimated 2 million people out of a total of less than eight million distorted the Cambodian population and caused deep personal and social traumas
- Females make up 64 per cent of the adult population
- There are 200,000 orphaned children & 50 per cent of the population is aged under 15
So as if life wasn't hard enough in this country they also have a massive problem with Landmines, it is estimated that around 6-7 million were planted during the war - no exact figures are know as no records were kept as to how many or where they were placed. It is thought today an astonishing 5 million of these still remain active in the ground.
Today we were visiting the landmine museum, this was set up by a guy called Aki Ra who at the age of 10 was forced into Khmer Rouge army as a boy solder after his parents were killed by them - from this age he used a rifle and part of his job was to lay around 4500 of these mines a month.
Today he dedicates his life to detonating them and has cleared over 50,000 mines many of which he displays in the museum used to raise funds to help train other people & works alongside the United Nations to be able to clear mines and make the country safe.
Cambodia has the highest number of amputees per capita apparently 1 amputee for every 290 people, today around 35 people are killed and many more injured per month in land mines many of these children playing or farming in the fields. As a tourist this is not a problem these populated areas and the tourist sights are definitely safe for us to walk in so as horrible as it sounds dont be put off going here.
So anyway we visit the museum which is also home to 30 children looked after be Aki Ra who were all victims of mines but are now getting a change to learn english and rebuild their lives - the place was great with positive stories & pictures from the kids they its just amazing the sheer dedication put in by Aki Ra - absolutely brilliant day out.
Aki Ra more info if your interested - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aki_Ra
Landmine Museum - http://www.cambodialandminemuseum.org/
tut tut to the landmine museum (40 mins away from Siem Reap) - £4.38
Entry to the museum (funds supporting the kids & museum) - £1.88