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CMAC targets development

THE Cambodian Mine Action Centre has received an installment of demining equipment from Japan that is set to be used for its first project incorporating community development activities in addition to clearance, according to a statement issued yesterday.

Japan is set to provide US$11 million for the project, which will target Bavel and Banan districts in Battambang province. Nem Sowathey, public relations manager at CMAC, said Battambang had been selected because it is “one of the most heavily contaminated” provinces.

Of the grant, $6 million will take the form of in-kind donations including vehicles, detectors, grass-cutters and fuel pumps, the statement said.

Nem Sowathey said the project would mark the first time “that we actually implement the whole integration of mine clearance and community development”.

After finding, removing and destroying mines, CMAC workers will help Battambang residents make use of the land that has been cleared, she said.

“At the moment, they are looking into what the community really requires, and the local areas they are looking in they require roads, canals, and this includes agriculture training. Those are the three main areas,” she said. “But of course it’s not limited to that. There might be something else.
They are assessing the needs as they go on.”

CMAC director general Heng Ratana indicated in the statement that the project was part of a broader expansion of the organisation’s focus.

“Our commitment is on humanitarian demining.... Simply clearing the land from contamination is not enough,” Heng Ratana said.

“Therefore we implement the integrated mine action project to couple mine clearance with the community development to ensure the communities
will benefit from the cleared lands through a sustainable development.”

One-quarter of casualties nationwide have been recorded in Battambang province since 2009, according to the most recent report produced by the Cambodia Mine/Explosive Remnants of War Victim Information System.

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