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Artificial leg made from scrap metal, Cambodia, 1990-2002

What do you do if you lose a leg but no artificial ones are available? Many people simply improvise with whatever materials they can find. Thousands of landmines were laid in Cambodia during the Vietnamese occupation between 1979 and 1989, and afterwards as a means of defence. Unfortunately, since 1979, many Cambodians have died after stepping on them – most of these victims were civilians, many of them children. At least 25,000 have lost limbs in this way. Before the introduction of plastic and more hi-tech prosthetic limbs to Cambodia, artificial limbs made from scrap metal with wooden bases and rubber tips were used by those who had had their legs amputated or damaged by landmines. This limb is said to be made from the cooling system of a vehicle-mounted machine gun.

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    Glossary: landmine

    No description.

    Glossary: prostheses

    Artificial body parts, or materials inserted into tissue for functional, cosmetic, or therapeutic effect. Prostheses can be functional (artificial arms and legs), or cosmetic (artificial eye).

    Glossary: artificial leg

    A device, either external or implanted, that substitutes for or supplements a missing or defective part of the body.