The Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) on Friday incorporated more than 250 retired and disabled officers and staff into the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF).
It also announced a 10-year (2016-2025) demining project that requires around $100 million in funds for the first five years.
CMAC Director General Heng Ratana said: “CMAC has prepared a 10-year plan to clear 50,000 hectares of landmines and 120,000 hectares of suspected landmines that will require more technical equipment and about $100 million for the first five years.”
So far nearly 1,800 CMAC officers have been incorporated into RCAF.
Over the past 25 years, CMAC has demolished 517,027 anti-personnel mines, 10,648 anti-tank mines, a total of 2,699,092 landmines and unexploded ordnance, and cleared more than 940 square kilometres of landmines.
Ratanna said landmine clearance in the Kingdom has been challenging, with thick forests, hard-soil conditions, mixed minefields and many buried landmines hampering the process.
About 70 percent of CMAC clearance work depended on partnerships with the US, Japan, China, Russia and other countries. “Although we still need help from others, we will have to stand strong by ourselves,” Ratana said.
Lieutenant General Hun Manith said there are still life-threatening landmines and unexploded ordinances left in some areas, especially in former battlefields.
“There were 800 mine-related casualties in 2000-2005. The toll has decreased to 100 per year since 2016. Though the number is declining, we still rank the highest in the world in terms of casualties,” he said.
Ratana expressed high hopes that CMAC will achieve the goal of clearing all suspected landmines in the Kingdom in 10 years, with the availability of advanced technology and experienced staff.