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More than 800 evacuated from bomb villages

Ven Rathavong / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Officials speak with the media yesterday as the removal operation began. KT/Fabien Mouret

More than 800 villagers from Svay Rieng province’s Korki commune were yesterday evacuated from their homes for several hours as experts worked to excavate chemical-filled barrel bombs from a school and a pagoda.

The villagers evacuated will be moved daily until the completion of the chemical bomb disposal mission.

Local authorities said 856 villagers including women, children, and the elderly were taken about 1.5 kilometres from the site from between 7.30am and 3pm.

Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An visited the evacuees, donating food rations and other essentials.

The Cambodian Mine Action Centre and chemical weapons experts yesterday dug more than one metre into the ground surrounding the bombs.

The operation will continue today and should be finished by tomorrow if all goes to plan.

Mr Yan, 82, who was evacuated along with seven family members, applauded the bomb disposal effort.

“I was always worried the bombs might explode and hurt my grandchildren,” he said.

He said the US had killed many people in his village, while others were disabled as a result of explosives left over from the Vietnam War.

“I slept in trenches during the war. Members of my family gave birth in the trenches,” he said, recalling the US bombardments during the 1970s.

According to data released in 2000, the US dropped two million bombs on Cambodia from 1963 to 1975, with the aim of destroying Viet Cong invaders.

More than 500,000 Cambodian citizens were killed.

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