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China grants millions for mine clearance

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
A deminer excavating an anti-tank mine. CMAC

China has provided a $2.5 million grant to the government to support the demining activities of the Cambodian Mine Action Centre.

According to a CMAC statement issued on Thursday, China granted the aid under the China-Aided Cambodia Landmine Elimination Project, which will run until May 2019 and focus on three core activities.

Those activities include clearance operations of landmines and explosive remnants of war in four provinces, surveying other areas affected by landmines including under the Tonle Sap lake, and strengthening the capacity of CMAC officials.

“To achieve these goals, CMAC will deploy around 230 staff members to support the operations, and the project will benefit thousands of families,” the statement said.

Heng Ratana, director-general of CMAC, said CMAC will deploy forces in Stung Treng, Preah Vihear, Siem Reap, Kampong Thom provinces. He added that CMAC will also conduct surveys for landmines and explosive remnants of war in the Tonle Sap region, including 840 villages next to Tonle Sap.

“This assistance helps to speed up the clearance of landmines in Cambodia and to address the lack of funds needed to support CMAC,” he said. “This will also help CMAC to maintain and achieve its goals.”

On International Day of Mine Awareness on April 4, the Cambodian Mine Action Authority said that Cambodia needs more than $400 million to clear mines and explosive remnants of war from 2018 to 2025.

According to the CMAA, from 1992 to 2017, all mine action operators, local authorities, relevant ministries, development partners, and national and international organisations, have cleared more than 1,680 square kilometres of land, detecting and destroying 1,047,447 anti-personnel mines, 24,618 anti-tank mines and 2,713,606 explosive remnants of war.

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