The government has contributed more than $110 million toward mine clearance operations, management of mine action institutions and through tax exemptions on demining equipment over the last 10 years.
Ly Thuch, first vice president of Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority, yesterday disclosed this when presiding over an event to mark International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action at the Cambodia-Korea Cooperation Centre in Phnom Penh.
“I am delighted and honoured to attend the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action this year under the theme of Raising Mine/Explosive Remnants of War Awareness for Peace, Stability and Resilience in ASEAN through Youth Participation,” he said. “Even though Cambodia is still struggling with our own mine and ERW problems, we are giving support to the international community.”
Cambodia has released 1,823 square kilometres of contaminated land for productive use and brought down the number of casualties from its pinnacle of 4,320 people in 1996 to 58 people in 2018 – thanks to the relentless concerted efforts of all mine action stakeholders.
Nonetheless, according to data provided by CMAA, the remaining mine/ERW contamination in the Kingdom as of the end of last year is estimated to be 2,125 square kilometres.
“This year, 44 casualties were reported up to the end of March,” Mr Thuch said. “It means that mines and ERWs still present a lethal threat to the people.”
He noted that the government is working hard to clear remaining mines until none are left. Mr Thuch also said that Cambodia needs more deminers and funds to support mine action.
He said that since 1992, international support for Cambodian mine action has been provided by Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Norway, the European Union, Germany, Sweden, China, Ireland, France, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Nations.
Panyrarak Poolthup, Thai ambassador to Cambodia, said at the event that from this year the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Centre will carry out its activities in various Asean countries in line with its mandate and a robust three-year work plan from this year to 2021.
He said many projects have been discussed and some have received funding from both Asean member states and development partners.
“Today’s event is also a very good example of constructive partnership within Asean members themselves and with friends from outside the region,” Mr Poolthup noted.