PHNOM PENH, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia has seen a remarkable decline in the number of casualties from landmines and unexploded ordnances (UXOs) over the last two decades, Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen has said.
To mark the upcoming National Mine Awareness Day on Feb. 24, Hun Sen said in a message seen on Thursday that the number of casualties had fallen to 58 in 2018 from 4,320 in 1996.
He said although there had been a sharp decrease in casualties, mines and UXOs still caused deaths and remained an obstacle to the development of the country and the betterment of its people.
"Mines, explosive remnants of war and cluster bombs still cause our people to either become disabled or lose lives, and damage a lot of properties," Hun Sen said, adding that educating people about the dangers from the munitions was essential to further reduce causalities.
From 1992 to 2018, Cambodia had cleared more than 1,802 square km of landmines, the prime minister said, adding that over 1 million anti-personnel mines, 28,832 anti-tank mines and 2.7 million explosive remnants of war had been found and destroyed over the period.
Hun Sen said it is estimated that mines, explosive remnants of war and cluster bombs are still scattered over an area of 1,970 square km in Cambodia and that the country is seeking about 406 million U.S. dollars in aid to clear all types of the munitions by 2025.
The Southeast Asian country is one of the most landmine-affected countries in the world due to its almost three decades of war that ended in 1998.