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US giving $2 million to support demining

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
A member of a demining squad guides his dog through a minefield. Over 500 demining dogs work around the world – in Africa, the Middle East, South America and Southeast Asia. Reuters

The United States will provide $2 million from this month until February next year to support demining activities in the Kingdom.

Heng Ratana, CMAC director-general, on Tuesday posted on his Facebook account that the pledge was made by US officials involved in demining programmes after a visit to observe CMAC’s operations in Tboung Khmum province.

“The officials confirmed that the United States will provide $2 million to support demining operations for a period of 12 months from March 1, 2019 to February 28, 2020,” he said.

Mr Ratana noted that the funding is for both CMAC’s and Norwegian People’s Aid’s demining work.

Last year, CMAC received $1.6 million from the US to clear mines and cluster bombs on 2,200 hectares of land.

US Embassy spokeswoman Emily Zeeberg yesterday said that the United States has a long history of working with its partners in Cambodia to address the problem of landmines and unexploded ordnance remaining as a legacy of internal and regional conflict.

“The total amount of support from the US government for demining activities in the next fiscal year has not yet been finalized,” she added. “However, we are currently providing approximately $5 million in annual support for humanitarian demining activities to local partners such as the Cambodian Mine Action Centre.”

Ms Zeeberg added that in the last 25 years, the United States has spent more than $160 million to fund clearance of landmines and other explosives as well as provide training, capacity building and mine detection equipment.

Last month, Ly Thuch, Cambodian Mine Action and Victims Assistance Authority vice president, met with US embassy representative Michael Newbill at CMAA’s office to discuss several issues in the mine action sector.

Mr Thuch said afterwards that he welcomed the United States’ longstanding support for the mine action sector in the Kingdom and outlined the government’s vision and commitment to achieve a mine-free Cambodia by 2025.

Last month, the UK donated $9.5 million for mine clearing work and the funds are being distributed to NGOs Halo Trust, MAG and NPA. The Swiss also donated $6 million for demining in Cambodia, while China vowed to support demining efforts until the Kingdom becomes mine-free by 2025.

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