The Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority yesterday signed an agreement with a university from England with the aim of utilising drone technology to help clear the Kingdom of unexploded ordnance.
According to a report issued by the Cambodian Mine Action Centre, about 45,500 unexploded ordnance and landmines were unearthed from nearly 90 square kilometres and destroyed last year.
In February, Prime Minister Hun Sen said that according to a report, Cambodia still has 1,970 square kilometres of its land contaminated with landmines, explosive remnants of war and cluster munitions.
Cambodia is aiming to be mine-free by 2025.
According to Ly Thuch, vice president of the CMAA, officials yesterday welcomed Darren Ansell, professor of aerospace engineering from the University of Central Lancashire, in order to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the use of drone technology in the acceleration of mine clearance.
Mr Thuch said utilising drones would also reduce the risk of life-threatening incidents among deminers.
“What is important is this university will provide cooperation related to modern equipment in order to help our demining sector,” he said. “Especially by saving time and reducing risk.”
“They will train Cambodians on how to use drones and robots to help clear mines,” he added. “Technology can provide timeliness and efficiency.”
According to Mr Thuch, the UCLAN will provide three drones and three robots in the near future.
Additionally, CMAC director-general Heng Ratana yesterday said on Facebook that he met with Japan International Consultant System representative Watanabe Jinchi.
Mr Ratana said CMAC and JICS signed a contract to extend an integration project that expired this year.
“It’s vital to note that this project plans to end by late October, 2019, and now it has been extended by two months to the end of 2019,” Mr Ratana said.
He added that the project have provided about $2.6 million for demining operations and $220,000 for post clearance development.
“With this assistance, CMAC can secure 400 expert deminers for the first six months of this year,” Mr Ratana said. “CMAC has already scaled down on staff to ensure that this project reaches until the end of the year.”
“This project has been a great success for CMAC,” he added. “It has contributed to remarkable social development achievements for Cambodians.”