Germany has committed to providing another €3.5 million ($3,841,000) over the next two years to the Halo Trust for landmine clearance in Cambodia in a bid to help the Kingdom reach its landmine-free goal in 2025.
The pledge came as the German Ambassador to Cambodia Christian Berger and Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) first vice-president Ly Thuch, made a joint visit to a minefield in O’Smach commune, in Samrong district, Oddar Meanchey province, on March 17.
“Germany has pledged to contribute an additional $3.8 million to landmine clearance in Cambodia through 2020 and 2021. The mine clearance organisation Halo Trust will be in charge of implementing the programme.
“Mines are a legacy of an agonising past and remain an impediment to development. We – the government and international partners – need to step up our efforts to achieve a landmine-free Cambodia by 2025,” the German Embassy in Cambodia said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
The embassy quoted Berger as saying in the post: “Germany is committed to continuing supporting mine clearance activities in the country to achieve the 2025 goal.”
Land that has already been de-mined after clearance by a German-funded team last year is now being used to grow cassava, cashew, maize, rice, rubber tree, and mangoes, the German embassy said in a press release on Wednesday.
“Almost 1,500 tons of crops will be grown every year on cleared land, generating steady and sustainable income for farmers and jobs for communities,” it said.
CMAA announced that as of February this year, Halo Trust had cleared about 12sq km and destroyed 3,421 anti-human mines, 127 anti-tank mines and 3,506 unexploded ordnances benefitting over 140,000 people.
“Germany has provided Halo Trust with €7.25 million in humanitarian mine clearance aid in Cambodia since 2016, of which €2.5 million has been allocated for mine action in 2020,” said Thuch.
Thuch told The Post on Wednesday that German assistance was crucial in achieving the government’s landmine-free goal. He said the CMAA must also accelerate, strengthen and improve the effectiveness of its mine action activities to achieve the plan.
“This generous German aid has played a vital part in getting rid of the hidden killer.
“We need to use modern equipment that saves time and money, to help us clear mines faster and more efficiently. This money will allow us to do that.
“The new equipment includes devices that detect mines more effectively. When we point the device to touch an iron substance, it alerts the controller with an ‘iron’ alert sign.
When it touches a mine, it alerts with a ‘mine’ sign. This vastly improves the speed and effectiveness of our work,” Thuch told The Post.