Japan Gives Money for Demining

Ros Chanveasna / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Cambodian mine clearance of cials with their mine-snif ng dogs. Xinhua/Phearum

The Japanese government agreed yesterday to provide more than $830,000 to the Japan Mine Action Service (JMAS) to assist the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) with demining operations in the northwestern part of Battambang province.
The deal was signed by Japan’s Ambassador to Cambodia Yuji Kumamaru and JMAS resident representative Shibata Mikio at the Japanese embassy in Phnom Penh.
Mr. Kumamaru said Japan’s grant assistance of $833,332 will be used to implement the Capacity Building Projects on Demining for CMAC in Cambodia, operated by JMAS.
“We already know that Cambodia has a lot of mines and remnants of war, which are buried underground throughout the Kingdom – especially the mines buried in the northwestern part of Cambodia,” Mr. Kumamaru said, adding that according to a report, 110 people were killed or injured by landmines or unexploded ordnance (UXO) in the country last year.
He said mines and UXO not only heavily threaten the safety of Cambodians, but are also the biggest hindrance to infrastructure, socioeconomic and agricultural development in the Kingdom.
“Therefore, the clearing of mines and UXO is essential for developing the country,” he said.  
Mr. Mikio said that JMAS’ demining operations have cleared 260 hectares of minefields in Chaeng Meanchey commune in Battambang province’s Banan district.
“I am delighted and honored to let all of you know that the minefields, which were cleared by JMAS together with CMAC, have now been converted to land for infrastructure, cultivation and residences,” Mr. Mikio said, adding that JMAS had trained 90 CMAC officers and aimed to help improve the skills of deminers.
Leaving the ceremony, CMAC director-general Heng Ratana said the assistance by the Japanese government to JMAS was to transfer efficient demining skills and technical support to CMAC in mine and UXO-clearing operations.
“This grant aid assistance given by Japan is expected to be implemented for demining operations in Battambang province,” he said.
According to a statement by the Japanese embassy to Cambodia, this project is expected to benefit about 1,700 Cambodian people by alleviating the threat of landmines and facilitating community development in the area.
Since 2002, the Japanese government has provided more than $26.2 million for 95 projects in the Kingdom, mainly in the areas of primary education, heath, agriculture and mine clearance.
An estimated four to six million landmines and other munitions left from decades of war and internal conflict continue to contaminate Cambodia, according to a Cambodian Mine Action Authority (CMAA) report from November last year.
The northwestern regions bordering Thailand are heavily affected, while other parts of the country are considered moderate to low-impact zones, affected mostly by explosive remnants of war.
Landmine and UXO explosions killed 19,720 people from 1979 to September 2015, the CMAA report said.

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