With the financial assistance of the Indian government through the Indian embassy in Phnom Penh, four villages in Koh Kong province’s Botum Sakor district will be declared mine-free in January of 2023, said Ly Thuch, first vice-president of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA).
Besides Botum Sakor district, India’s assistance would help other districts in the province, with plans to declare the entire province mine-free by the end of 2023.
“It won’t just be Koh Kong. Next year, we expect to make the same declaration for Tbong Khmum, Takeo, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Cham, Svay Rieng, Kampot and Kampong Speu provinces,” he said.
Thuch added that the residents of the four villages were pleased to know that they would no longer have to live in fear. They can now safely cultivate their land and graze their cattle without the threat of death of horrific injuries looming over them.
Lang Kosal, a CMMA demining officer, said the four villages were home to 7,763 residents and contained over 225,000sqm of minefields. Two of the villages, Prolean and Kandorl, are in Kandorl commune of Botum Sakor district. Chamkar Leur and Thma Sar villages are in Thma Sar commune of the district.
Darren Cormack, CEO of the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), met with Thuch on December 7 to discuss their partnership and mine action cooperation.
Thuch commended the leadership and staff of MAG for their efforts and dedication in the demining work. MAG is not only a key partner in demining work, but also a 30-year strategic partner.
“We intend to continue our cooperation with MAG in demining activities,” said Thuch.
Since 1992, MAG has cleared 124.7sq km of mines. It has detected and destroyed 84,188 landmines, 32,171 cluster bombs and 288,049 explosive remnants of war. Over two million people have benefited from its demining work.