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Australia provides over $5 million for demining work

Khmer Times / Khmer Times Share:
Australian Ambassador Pablo Kang, left, and CMAA first Vice President Ly Thuch at the breakfast meeting in the capital yesterday. Facebook

Australia has committed to grant AUD 7.6 million (about $5.26 million) for demining work in the Kingdom’s three most-affected provinces from this year until 2024.

Ly Thuch, first vice president of Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), told Khmer Times yesterday the Australian grant would be used to clear landmines in Battambang, Banteay Meanchey and Pailin provinces, which have the most number of UXOs left from wars.

He said the budget would be used from this year until 2024 and  that Australia is committed to helping Cambodia’s demining efforts until 2025.

Thuch said Cambodia and Australia would hold more discussions on demining aid plans for 2025.

“The main aim of the grant is to clear landmines so that the land can be handed over to the people for farming,” he said. “It will help to reduce risks during the farming season since there have been a lot of landmine explosions recently which took place while farmers were ploughing their farmlands.”

“Prime Minister Hun Sen has expressed concerns that more landmine explosions may take place so we are prioritising efforts to demine the three most  affected provinces,” Thuch added.

He said the recent landmine explosions have disabled or killed victims, causing widows and orphans to suffer hardship.

Thuch said Australia would help develop capacity and strategy related to mine- clearing efforts, adding that the Australian government has been supporting the national strategy to make Cambodia landmine free by 2025.

Cambodia has more than 2,500 deminers across the country.

A CMAA statement quoted Australian Ambassador to Cambodia Pablo Kang as saying, during a breakfast meeting with Thuch yesterday, the Australian government has supported and is committed to continuing its landmine clearance work in the Kingdom, joining with the government in providing safe land, reducing landmine hazards and developing the community economy.

Kang also said on his Twitter account yesterday that: “I reaffirm strong support in working with the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) Cambodia to help make this country finally mine-free over the next few years.”

The CMAA statement said Australia has been participating in humanitarian mine clearance in the Kingdom since 1994 by providing more than AUD100 million ($69.35 million) in aid.

According to a CMAA report, there were 38 casualties of landmine or UXO explosions so far this year.

The report added that this year, Cambodia has so far cleared 63.26 square kilometres of land and found 7,855 landmines, 175 anti-tank shells and 25,440 other unexploded remnants of war.

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