The Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) yesterday expressed its appreciation for the support provided by the United States to clear Cambodia of landmines and explosive remnants of war.
The appreciation was made during the remembrance ceremony to honor landmine and UXO victims, hosted in the US Embassy compound in Phnom Penh, and attended by US ambassador Patrick Murphy.
Speaking during the ceremony, CMAA first vice-president Ly Thuch expressed his “deepest appreciation” for the generous support provided by US in its mission to remove landmines and explosive remnants of war in Cambodia – beginning in 1993.
“We are very grateful to the American people and the US government for standing beside us in our quest to end the threat posed by land mines,” he said.
“Since 1993, the USA has contributed $160 million to support humanitarian mine action in Cambodia,” he added.
Thuch also thanked other donors, including the UK, Australia, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, China, Norway, South Korea, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, the UNDP, UNICEF, private foundations, civil society organisations and philanthropists for their generosity regarding the cause.
“This contribution allows national and international demining operators to employ thousands of well-trained and equipped men and women to clear landmine and war remnant affected areas, thus saving lives and allowing development to safely take place.” he said.
The Kingdom is still among one of the most landmine and explosive remnants contaminated countries in the world, he added.
Thuch said international, multilateral and bilateral funding have hugely enhanced Cambodia’s demining program.
“To reach our vision of a mine free Cambodia by 2025, we need to continue nurturing and promoting these partnerships,” he said.
With the strong resolve and firm commitment of the government, donor community, operators and relevant parties, we still can see the light at the end of the tunnel.” he added.
On his Twitter after the event, ambassador Murphy said: “We ended Humanitarian Assistance month by honoring the heroes who are helping make Cambodia landmine-free, paying respect to victims and celebrating demining partnerships.”
According to CMAA, between 1979 and 2019, landmines and explosive remnants caused 64,855 casualties, with 31 percent proving deadly, 55 percent causing grievous injuries and 14 percent causing loss of limbs
Since 1992, demining efforts have seen 2,043 square kilometres of contaminated land cleared along with the destruction of over 1 million anti-personnel mines, 25,000 anti-tank mines and 2.8 million items of explosive remnants of war.