Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CMAC cleared over 30,000 land mines in first 10 months




CMAC cleared over 30,000 land mines in first 10 months

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
CMAC demining experts detonate a cluster bomb dropped by US planes. AFP

CMAC cleared over 30,000 land mines in first 10 months

The Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) cleared more than 30,000 land mines from 75sq km in the first 10 months of this year, the organisation’s director-general said on Monday.

Heng Ratana, speaking at a CMAC meeting, said the organisation aims to clear a further 116sq km of mines in the next two months. Progress usually slows during the rainy season, but with the drier weather between October and December, operations can resume at a faster pace.

“We have completed more than 75sq km so far, but we hope that by the end of this year, we can achieve our plan by clearing mines from over 100sq km of land.”

Leading demining organisation

CMAC is Cambodia’s leading demining organisation, formed by the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia in 1992.

In August 2001, then King Norodom Sihanouk assigned CMAC status as Cambodia’s national institution for demining. According to their latest report, CMAC has reclaimed about 1,500sq km of land since it was founded.

Ratana said that roughly 80 per cent of CMAC’s operations depend on international assistance and funding. CMAC has roughly 30 projects scheduled for next year, five of which have already received $14 to $15 million in funding.

Further funding

CMAC now aims to receive further funding for projects that will clear mines from 110 to 120sq km of land next year.

“We need a new plan and donors to support our operations and I think that next year, the aid situation will be better than this year."

“We will sign with the donors this week for funding worth about $12 million, which we will receive by early 2019. We will continue to negotiate with our funders, and if everything goes as planned we think that we can get around $16 to $18 million for 2019,” he said.

Cambodia remains among the leading nations in the world in the field of land mine clearing, with the Cambodian government aiming to rid the country of all the anti-personnel mines by 2025 as part of Ottawa Treaty.

However, Cambodia also has extensive unexploded ordnances as a consequence of years of domestic and international conflict that will take longer to clear. Ratana said that cluster bombs detected by CMAC cover about 650sq km, making them a much harder problem to resolve.

“US cluster bombs dropped in Cambodia were on such a large scale that we do not believe we can clear them by 2025 with our resources. However, we will tackle this problem at a later time. The government see this problem as a long term one,” he said.

CMAC also trains dogs for the purposes of their work, with 2018 witnessing the birth of a large new cohort of mine detecting canines.

“We are proud to announce the birth of 67 new mine detection dogs in 2018. The new puppies are being trained, and many of last year puppies have already started to operate in the field,” said Ratana.

MOST VIEWED

  • School reopening to be postponed until November

    Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting a delay of school reopening across the Kingdom until November, when the new academic year begins. In his letter, Chuon Naron said the postponement is warranted to avoid the new

  • Foreigners in Kingdom must now register in FPCS system

    The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration (GDI) announced that it would not grant visa extensions to foreigners staying in Cambodia if their names are not listed on the Foreigners Present in Cambodia System (FPCS) by July 1. Foreign nationals can register in the

  • Covid-19 at ‘alarming rate’, health ministry says

    The Covid-19 risk level for individual transmission is at an “alarming rate” in the Kingdom and its probability is “not low”, warned Health Ministry spokesperson Or Vandine. “Cambodia’s coronavirus scenario is classified as being at an early stage of the pandemic because of ongoing

  • Mandatory quarantine for 30,000 workers begins

    Some of the roughly 30,000 workers from factories and enterprises across the Kingdom who went on leave during Khmer New Year began their government-imposed 14-day quarantine on Monday. Speaking at a press conference while visiting workers at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone on Monday, Ministry

  • Unemployed to get $40 per month

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has instructed enterprises, business owners and travel agencies in five provinces to prepare the proper forms for the suspension of employment contracts. This, it said, will make it easier for the ministry to transfer $40 a month to workers

  • Gov’t travel ban flouted

    While the majority of Cambodians have paid heed to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order to stay put and not travel during the Khmer New Year – the holidays of which were also postponed – several hundred have left Phnom Penh nonetheless. They have allegedly breached provincial

  • G20 energy ministers struggle to finalise oil output cuts

    Top oil producers struggled to finalise production cuts during a virtual summit held by Group of 20 (G20) energy ministers on Friday, despite US President Donald Trump’s mediation efforts to end a standoff with Mexico. The final G20 communique appeared to gloss over simmering divisions

  • Kingdom revises travel restriction order

    The government on Friday eased the district and provincial border restrictions issued on Thursday. People are now allowed to cross districts within their provinces. Phnom Penh and Kandal province are to be treated as a single region where people are allowed to travel freely. In

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,