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Mines unearthed during flooding

Ven Rathavong / Khmer Times Share:

The Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority has issued a statement warning its field personnel and residents in flooded areas to be cautious due to mines being unearthed during heavy rains.

Signed by CMAA first vice president Ly Thuch and issued on Monday, the statement said that unexploded ordnances were found in several areas during floods last week, including the provinces of Kampot, Preah Sihanouk, Koh Kong, Kampong Speu, Battambang and Pailin.

“We found landmines and other UXOs during the floods in those provinces,” the CMAA statement said.

The statement instructed all CMAA field personnel to check flooded areas during and after evacuations, fearing that danger could still lurk below the soil.

As of yesterday, floods have affected seven provinces across the country and the capital city. Thousands of families were affected, while several major roads were damaged.

In Koh Kong province alone, six houses, ten schools, five pagodas and five mosques were flooded. Water in the province also flooded 8,232 hectares of rice fields and 684 hectares of other crops.

After 25 years of clearing minefields, various organisations tasked with demining the country have successfully cleared 1,036,376 anti-personnel mines, 24,251 anti-tank mines, and 2,660,638 of other types of explosives.

The Cambodian Mine Action Centre said that the agency will need about $100 million in foreign aid over the next five years to effectively demine remaining parts of the country affected by unexploded ordnance.

CMAC director-general Heng Ratana said at the time that the money should come from those who were responsible.

Mr Ratana slammed western powers for not doing enough for the Kingdom and blamed the United States for the country’s current predicament.

He also said that although Cambodia receives assistance from the US, China and Japan on a yearly basis, Cambodia needs to strengthen its own self-reliance by developing its own capacity building.

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