Around 600 deminers from the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC), including 13 dog teams, have begun operations in five provinces. Their efforts are part of a bid to reach the Kingdom’s Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 goal.

CMAC director-general Heng Ratana met with officials and deminers of the Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation on February 1, at Peace Museum of Mine Action in Siem Rea province.

“Operations will be conducted in Kampong Thom, Pailin, Preah Vihear, Pursat and Siem Reap provinces. We plan to clear 10,600ha of mine infected ground, and will deploy almost 600 CMAC officials, 13 dog teams, 21 heavy machinery units and 36 smaller teams,” he said.

In Siem Reap, 2,518ha would be targeted, locating in Angkor Chum, Svay Leu and Varin districts. Kampong Thom would see 3,860ha cleared, in Kampong Svay, Prasat Balang, Santuk and Stoung districts.

In Preah Vihear, 1,137ha of areas in Chey Sen, Kulen, Preah Vihear town, Rovieng, Sangkum Thmei and Tbeng Meanchey districts would be made safe.

In Pailin, 1,760ha in Sala Krao and Pailin districts would be cleared and in Pursat, 1,455ha in Kandieng, Phnom Kravanh and Veal Veng districts would be freed from the menace of landmines.

“CMAC teams are currently clearing eight minefields in Kampong Speu province, which cover a total of about 50ha. They are scheduled to be completely cleared by February 10,” said Ratana.

On January 26, the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) signed an agreement with the army, CMAC and the National Centre for Peacekeeping Force to clear around 18,027ha. This work was made possible with $30 million of funding from the mine-free foundation, via the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

In addition to CMAC’s five provincial targets, the army have been assigned 4,684ha in Phnom Sruoch district of Kampong Speu, Svay Chek district of Banteay Meanchey and Samrong town of Oddar Meanchey. Deminers from the peacekeeping force will handle 2,711ha in Snuol district of Kratie province and the Kirisakor and Koh Kong districts of Koh Kong and Mondulkiri.