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US grants $2m to clear mines

Khuon Narim and Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:
The funding is for the eastern part of Cambodia. Supplied

The United States has announced that it will provide $2 million for a one-year grant to survey and clear unexploded ordnance in eastern Cambodia.

“The United States has supported humanitarian demining in Cambodia for over 20 years and is committed to addressing our war-time legacy. This new tender is a continuation of those commitments as it will further aid in the cleanup of the remnants of war,” said Ambassador William Heidt.

“We are looking for the best national and international experts to help remove unexploded ordnance in the east of Cambodia,” he added.

On November 6, the US cut funding to clear wartime unexploded ordnance through their partner NGO Norwegian People’s Aid. The US was supplying CMAC with $2.5 million annually through NPA.

China then stepped in to fill the void, leading to the US extending the funding until the end of February. This new one-year grant is separate from the extended aid.

China is also donating funds for mine clearing.

CMAC director-general Heng Ratana said he welcomed the US’ continued support to clear UXOs in Cambodia.

“I don’t know about political norms, but we welcome the aid because it is a big issue in Cambodia,” Mr Ratana said.

Three people were injured yesterday after disturbing an unexploded ordinance while cutting trees on a farm in Kratie province’s Snuol district.

Snuol district governor Kong Kimny said the UXO explosion happened at 9am while three men went to cut trees on their farms in Snuol district’s Svay Chreah commune. One of them hit the UXO with his chainsaw.

“It caused serious injuries to one man and the other two men got minor injuries,” Mr Kimny said.

Chheang Dara, 25, suffered serious leg injuries, while Chuo Vanda, 25, and Chuo Vandy, 19, suffered minor injuries to their bodies.

“Now our police officials are cooperating with CMAC officials to make that area safe. We also banned people from the area,” Mr Kimny added.

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