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Detection rats CMAC, Apopo ink MoU for demining aid

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A demining expert watches as a rat tries to detect landmines by tracing the smell of explosive material at a facility in Tanzania in 2004. AFP

Detection rats CMAC, Apopo ink MoU for demining aid

The Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) and Apopo, a Belgian non-profit organisation that trains African giant pouched rats to detect landmines, signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday to integrate mine detection rats into demining projects in the Kingdom.

The project will be implemented in Siem Reap province with funding of nearly $200,000.

CMAC director-general Heng Ratana said the project is for a 12-month period from January 1 through December next year. He said 50ha of landmine area would be cleared per year.

Ratana said CMAC has tested mine detection rats since 2014 and has achieved remarkable results.

Next year, it plans to finish clearing 116km of land riddled with mines and war remnants.

For 2018-2019, CMAC received financial aid from various development partners – including $4 million from Japan, $2 million from USNPA and $1.1 million from UNDP, among others – to run 28 demining projects.

Ratana said CMAC will also integrate education projects and continue to support disabled landmine victims. He said a total of 1,700 staff, 69 mine detection dogs, 45 mine destroying machinery, and 2,500 volunteers will participate.

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