Pictured: Cambodian land mine victims - PHOTO

18:20 | 20.01.2014
They are victims of a conflict which ended decades ago.

But daily suffering is still a fact of life for tens of thousands of wounded men and women in Cambodia, struck down by the countless land mines which lay dormant under its soil.These images, taken this week in a rehabilitation centre in Kampong Cham, one of the largest cities in the country, show some of the nation's 25,000 amputees being helped through their injuries.Staff at the centre, run by Handicap International, help provide the injured with the right prosthetic limbs, and teach them to move again after life-changing injuries caused by decades-old explosives.In stirring scenes the severely-injured patients are shown learning to walk again using their new prosthetic limbs, which are crafted for them on-site by members of staff.Estimates vary as to exactly how many mines devices pepper the landscape of the South East Asian nation, first laid in serious numbers when the country was gripped by civil war in the late 1960s and early 1970s.Hundreds of thousands more were set in later years as Vietnamese forces occupied the country in the 1980s, then by the country's own army as the communist government fell in the 1990s.In 2010 it was estimated that as many as 6million mines are still unexploded in the Cambodian soil, covering 276 square miles of land. In a country with a population of around 15million, it means there is more than one mine for every three people.Since 1979 a total of 64,308 land mine casualties have been recorded by the official government monitoring body.Almost a third of the victims, some 20,000, were killed by the explosions, while 8,918 of those affected required amputations. According to some estimates, Cambodia has the most amputees per capita in the world.Overwhelmingly it is men who are struck down by the mines - accounting for more than 80 per cent of incidents. Some 6,000 boys were wounded or killed, along with 4,750 women, 1,367 girls  - and 63 were ravaged so badly by the explosion that it was impossible to tell.Although casualties have no dropped to fewer than 200 a year, experts still expect it to take a decade or more before the country is made safe.Workers at  Handicap International help dispose of mines as well as providing rehabilitation and treatment to those who have been wounded. Their work also targets attitudes towards the disabled.physical rehabilitation services and produce and fit prosthetic limbs and orthoses. Our projects also focus on tackling barriers to inclusion and activities to prevent the development of disabling impairments.At the Kampong Chan centre, a fifth of all patients are recovering from land mine-related injuries, while unsafe roads also contribute to a large amount of disabilities.(dailymail.co.uk)ANN.Az

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