Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Deminers warn public on post-flood explosives risks

Deminers warn public on post-flood explosives risks

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A demining personnel unearthed an unexploded ordnance. CMAC

Deminers warn public on post-flood explosives risks

The Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) instructed the capital and provincial mine action committees to take any measures necessary to prevent any danger to the public from unexploded ordnance (UXO) in areas where flooding has occurred following reports by authorities of loose UXO spotted floating through floodwaters.

The CMAA cited a notice issued by the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology alerting the public about a low-pressure system that was affecting Cambodia’s weather and making it a near-certainty that rain will fall on most of the Kingdom’s territory in the coming days.

This weather system has already caused some flooding in Phnom Penh, Kandal, Kampong Speu, Pursat, Battambang, Pailin, Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, Preah Vihear, Oddar Meanchey, Koh Kong and Preah Sihanouk provinces.

“During and after the floods UXO was spotted in the flowing water that was likely unearthed by rain-induced landslides in areas containing anti-personnel mines, anti-tank mines and various explosive remnants of war. All of this can be a danger to people’s lives,” the notice said.

In order to ensure the safety of the public the CMAA instructed the committees to remind affected communities about the possibility of unearthed UXO or other explosive materials due to the floods and advise caution when traversing or working in any area where the floods caused a significant ground disturbance.

CMAA said the committees should remind people to report anything they see that is of concern to their local authorities at the village and commune levels or to any demining operators stationed nearby when the explosives are found.

They should also prepare informational materials on this topic to disseminate to the people in their local area to raise awareness about the effect flooding may have when it occurs in former war zones, battlefields or other areas that experienced armed conflict.

Sam Vireak, head of the Cambodian Mine Action Centre’s branch in Banteay Meanchey province, told The Post that the task force had talked to locals and put up some warning signs in areas known to still have UXO or mines that were affected by the floods.

“We have prepared two vehicles and a team of seven people for fast intervention if anything is unearthed by the flooding. And when the authorities have evacuated people to dry ground, we have also taken the opportunity to search for mines as the waters recede in some areas that we consider suspect because we can do so with far fewer concerns over public safety while they are away.

“Banteay Meanchey still has mines, we’ve no doubt about that. When there are no floods everybody sticks to the places and routes they commonly use that have already been cleared – if not by us, then by years of using them resulting in accidents, injuries and deaths.

“But when there are floods, they must evacuate to other places where, sometimes, fewer people have tread over time so unknown dangers may be present. And the waters wash away the earth and disturb the ground in the familiar places,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Cambodia purchases 4 million Molnupiravir tablets

    Cambodia has arranged for the purchase of four million US-made Molnupiravir pills – enough to treat 100,000 Covid-19 patients – even though the current rate of daily infections in Cambodia remains low. The medicine will be distributed to state hospitals, pharmacies and private clinics, according to the Samdech

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Cambodia planning new border checkpoint at Thma Da

    Cambodia is looking into the possibility of opening a new Thma Da Border Checkpoint with Thailand to boost trade and tourism. The Ministry of Public Works and Transport said on December 4 that Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol led a technical working group