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Topic section 1: Land mines in Cambodia
Land mines in Cambodia
Lim Eng lives in Cambodia. In 1983, when she was in her mid-twenties, Lim stepped on a landmine while helping to cut a clearing in a bamboo forest. She was taken to the nearest hospital, but the blast had damaged her right leg so badly that it had to be amputated. Several weeks later, once her wounds had healed, Lim returned on crutches to her home.
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Lim Eng.
Credit: For and on behalf of The Cambodia Trust

In Cambodia, one person in every 236 is an amputee

Lim is just one of the many thousands of landmine victims. Around the world, one person is either killed or seriously injured by a landmine every half hour. Most victims are civilians, many of them children.

After years of conflict, Cambodia is experiencing more peaceful times.The minefields are being cleared, but progress is slow and their deadly legacy will remain for many years. In Cambodia, one person in every 236 is an amputee. For a large proportion of these victims, both young and old, life can be a struggle.

The year after she was injured, Lim was encouraged to attend one of the small number of clinics set up to help the growing numbers of amputees.
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Lim helping to fit a patient with a new artificial leg.
Credit: For and on behalf of The Cambodia Trust
 There she was fitted with a basic leather-covered artificial leg. It was uncomfortable, but liberating as she learned to walk again. Several years later, that leg, by then heavily worn, was replaced by the first in a series of new prostheses. These are of a much higher quality and far more comfortable.

Cambodia’s landmine amputees often live in very remote areas. Providing all of them with good quality artificial limbs is a slow and ongoing process. Many of those attending the clinics previously had to rely on homemade prostheses constructed from scrap materials.

The designs of the newer limbs broadly adhere to princ
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A sign used in Cambodia to warn of the presence of landmines.
Credit: Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

iples first established by an artificial leg design known as the Jaipur Foot. This innovative limb has transformed the lives of amputees – particularly those affected by landmines – in many parts of the developing world.

Lim is more fortunate than many of Cambodia’s landmine victims. In addition to giving her mobility, wearing an artificial leg has helped her establish a career. She is now an outreach worker for a charity devoted to helping Cambodia’s disabled, including those injured by landmines. She enjoys her work and is optimistic about the future.

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World War One Veteran
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The First World War created huge numbers of amputees, leading to a crisis in limb supply in Britain, but also to gradual improvements in limb design. In 1917, Private Gray left hospital having lost his right arm on a battlefield in France.  > more

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Consequences of Thalidomide
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The thalidomide disaster in the late 1950s was followed by a project to provide the affected children with experimental artificial limb systems. Eddie was amongst the first to use them.  > more
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