MAG in Cambodia









Landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) kill and injure two people every week in Cambodia, as well as exacerbating poverty, restricting land use and hindering development.

Harvesting rice on a former minefield

Harvesting rice on land made safe by MAG in Battambang province.

Photo: Sean Sutton/MAG

The problems

Why MAG is in Cambodia

Cambodia is one of the most heavily landmine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) affected countries in the world, with a mix of landmine contamination in the north-west of the country, and extensive cluster munition contamination across the north-east.

Mines and UXO kill and injure two people every week here, exacerbating poverty, restricting land use and hindering development.

More than 80 per cent of people live in rural areas and depend on the land for their survival. Malnutrition remains widespread and one in five rural inhabitants are often unable to secure enough food for themselves or their families. The presence of landmines, cluster munitions and other items of UXO compounds this issue, as they trap people in poverty by restricting access to productive land and limiting investment in key infrastructure.

To live without fear


How MAG is helping in Cambodia

Present in Cambodia since 1992, MAG works to survey and clear mines and cluster munitions, and is the only international mine action opeator working in both the east and west of the country.

MAG also removes residual items of UXO that are scatered across the parts of the country where the heaviest fighting took place and which continue to pose a threat to men, women and children.


In close cooperation with national authorities, MAG has played a leading role in encouraging the adoption of land release methods, researched and trialled new technologies to improve efficiency, and supported the national authority as it has worked to obtain a better understanding of the total remaining contamination.

No single operational method is ideal in Cambodia, where contaminated terrain ranges from agricultural land to roads to overgrown hillsides. Soil containing high levels of iron causes problem with detectors and the wet season results in flooding in many areas, reducing the efectieness of some clearance resources. 

A range of operational tools and methods tackle these challenges. Manual teams, equipped with both traditional metal detectors and more advanced ground penetrating radar systems, conduct technical survey and mine/cluster munition clearance.

Dogs are also used, particularly in areas with a low number of mines spread across a large area. Finally, machines are deployed to rapidly survey and clear large flat areas and remove vegetation. MAG also deploys Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams to respond to community reports of landmines or UXO. 


Working closely with the communities, development partners and national and provincial authorities, MAG is having a significant impact in Cambodia. 

As landmines and UXO are found and destroyed, and land is released back into productive use, living standards and quality of life improves. As more minefields are surveyed and cleared, the Government and MAG get closer to their mutual goal of a mine-free Cambodia.


Sam Loth District, western Cambodia

Phlou Meas village in the Sam Loth district of western Cambodia was cleared by MAG in 2011 in a project funded with  UK Aid from the UK Government.

Photo: Sean Sutton / MAG