The Japan Mine Action Service has granted more than $300,000 to the Cambodian Mine Action Centre on a project to clear landmines and cluster munition-contaminated areas in Kampong Thom province.
Heng Ratana, director-general of CMAC, signed an agreement with JMAS on Friday to help clear landmines and areas contaminated with cluster munition remnants in Kampong Thom province.
“This project will cover a 12-month period of operation and will start March 1 with a total grant of more than $300,000,” he said, adding the project would clear five square kilometres of land.
“I want to thank the people and the government of Japan for often providing grants to CMAC, which are necessary to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance in Cambodia so our people can live safely.”
Mr Ratana added the number of casualties from landmines and unexploded ordnance was falling, making people feel more confident in farming or using their land for other purposes.
“I appeal to all citizens to immediately report to local authorities, police or CMAC officials if they see unexploded ordnance or landmines,” he said.
He added there were about 2,000 square kilometres of land that still contained landmines.
Mr Ratana said last week that in 2017, CMAC cleared more than 86 square kilometres of land, removing and destroying 37,448 landmines and unexploded ordnance.
CMAC’s goal in 2018 is to clear 147 square kilometres of land of mines, cluster munitions and other unexploded ordnance – including chemical weapons, he added.
The Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority issued a report earlier this month saying there were 39 accidents in 2017, a 46 percent decrease compared with the 72 accidents in 2016.
Of the 39 incidents, it said 20 were from mine explosions and 19 were from explosive remnants of war. The incidents led to 58 casualties, a 30 percent decrease compared with the 83 casualties in 2016.