As the number of mine casualties has nearly doubled in the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year, the Chinese government yesterday provided new equipment to the Cambodia Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority for clearance activities.
The equipment handover ceremony was held yesterday at the CMAA headquarters, with the event presided over by Ly Thuch, senior minister and first vice president of CMAA, and Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian.
The equipment handed over to CMAA included cars, motors, metal detectors, material boxes, protective clothes and helmets, exploding initiator, and printer inks.
Mr Thuch said it was the first time that the Chinese government funded cars at his request for the authorities to carry out humanitarian works.
“The support comes at a crucial time as CMAA is currently facing challenges with travelling and operation activities with old equipment that has been used for more than 20 years,” he said.
Mr Thuch also requested the Chinese government to assist CMAA in constructing a new headquarter building in replacement of the old one.
“We truly hope that the kingdom will achieve its mine-free 2025 goal with equipment and financial support from [our] Chinese friends in order to overcome the underground monsters (mines) hidden in the dark,” he said.
Mr Thuch added that as of 2018, roughly 110 demining officials have been sent to learn new techniques in China.
Mr Wentian said the use of the funded equipment reflects the strong relations between China and Cambodia regarding demining work.
“I hope these equipment could assist CMAA in eliminating issues caused by mines in Cambodia,” he said. “Over the past decades, Cambodia has been actively facing risks in clearing mines and helping victims, with fruitful outcomes.”
Mr Wentian noted that China has trained nearly 1,000 experts in mine clearance for more than 40 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, including Cambodia.
For the past 27 years, the demining organisation has cleared 1,869 square kilometres of mine-ridden land and collected 1,070,381 anti-personnel mines, 24,925 anti-tank mines and 2,793,749 UXOs, according to Mr Thuch.
Mr Thuch noted that there are still 2,149 square kilometres of mine-ridden land that remain troublesome for villagers and the country’s development.
On June 23, the CMAA reported a 98 percent increase in the number of casualties during the first six months of 2019 compared to the same period last year.
According to its report, there were 61 injuries from January to June, nearly double compared to the 31 injuries in the same period last year. In 2018, there were a total of 58 injuries reported.
CMAA First Vice President, Senior Minister Ly Thuch and Chinese ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian today preside over the equipment handover from China to CMAA.KT/ Taing Vida
Posted by Khmer Times on Monday, 24 June 2019