Landmines in Cambodia: Past, Present, and Future

by Wade C. Roberts


War, genocide, and foreign occupation have taken their toll on Cambodia. These events have demolished infrastructure, overturned ruling parties, and led to the deaths of millions. Although these events are now past, many of the resulting ramifications still linger. One such remnant of the past are the landmines––abundant in number and pervasive in their propagation, landmine-related contamination continues to impact lives more than 30 years after the last war effort.

The residual ordnance problem in Cambodia is being confronted by a team of well-intentioned, motivated, and hardworking professionals. Current efforts, however, do not consider, account for, or target economic vulnerabilities that individuals and family structures encounter. This study analyzes the relationship between economic vulnerability and landmine-related incidents. Specific accountability for vulnerability is given in terms of poverty assessment, agricultural vulnerability, and the relationship between the price of metal and tampering-specific behavior.

This book provides the first and only comprehensive historical account of landmine-related contamination in Cambodia. This historical account contextualizes the magnitude, origin, and impact of ordnance in Cambodia by analyzing each of the ordnance contributing factions. In addition to providing an historical analysis of landmine-related contamination, this book assesses various types of vulnerability in conjunction with landmine-related incidents. More precisely, poverty, agricultural vulnerability, and the price of metal are all examined separately in accordance with landmine-related accidents and tampering rates.

The author Wade Roberts presents research that has enabled the first-ever analysis to take place testing the response of tampering behavior to changing metal prices at the Cambodia-Thailand border. This book also provides a unique approach to the landmine problem, bringing in and comparing various socioeconomic variables of poverty and economic need. Measures of poverty that prove statistically significant in predicting landmine-related incidents include levels of single parenting, the use of firewood for cooking, migration proportions, population densities, male-female sex-ratios, and with low levels of formal education. Critical agricultural measures that are statistically correlated to landmine-related incidents include net rice output, the supply of water, rice yields, crop diversification, floods and droughts, and nonrice agricultural production. The statistical analysis of the price of metal reveals that tampering responds directly, and more than proportionately, to a change in the price of scrap metal. Suggested policy recommendations follow each of these analyses.

Given the rich combination of quantitative and qualitative data coupled with the practical recommendations delineated, this book will be of immense value to scholars in poverty management studies, policy studies, and sociology.


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