The Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) is looking to increase its annual budget to $33 million this year amid a need to upgrade its life-saving equipment, an official said yesterday.
Approximately $10 million has already been raised, according to CMAC director Heng Ratana, who expressed confidence the goal was attainable.
“We need new equipment and equipment support packages every three to four years for this kind of work, but we’re confident that our goal will be reached,” he said yesterday, adding that the budget was “far from a dream” thanks to ongoing negotiations with development partners.
CMAC’s annual budget for 2012 and 2013 was roughly $20 million each year, including equipment, he added.
Japan, Britain and the US were the primary foreign donors involved in the Kingdom’s demining efforts, Ratana said.
Millions of pieces of unexploded ordnance (UXO) were planted during Cambodia’s civil war three decades ago, a violent legacy that still yields grisly accidents.
Last week, three children in Kampong Chhnang were killed after discovering an unexploded rocket while herding cattle.
UXO has killed nearly 20,000 people – many of them villagers in the Kingdom’s north and northwestern provinces – since 1979.
According to research by the Cambodian Mine Victim Information System, Oddar Meanchey, Banteay Meanchey and Preah Vihear remain high-risk provinces, with Battambang recording the highest number of mine casualties in 2013.
UXO killed a total of 22 people last year, down from 43 in 2012, according to figures released by the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority last week.