After Prime Minister Hun Sen made the July 4 announcement of the Samdech Techo Project for Mine Action, which will run under the slogan “Providing Safe Ground, Creating Smiles”, donors from the government and the private sector have contributed more than $16 million towards demining efforts.
Seng Tieng, secretary of state at the Council of Ministers, said on July 12 that donors were continuing to contribute.
“As of July 11, we have received more than $16 million and more than 200 million riel. This shows a great love for the nation,” he added.
The Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) and the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces, Mines and Explosive Remnants of War Clearance (NPMEC) on July 11 co-signed a contract to demine Tbong Khmum province and determined that the province will be completely demined within six months under the project.
Ly Thuch, Senior Minister and first vice-president of the CMAA, said that the contract was signed with the permission of Prime Minister Hun Sen. The first stage would begin soon.
“We will declare Tbong Khmum province mine-free in six months. Having signed this contract, the NPMEC is due to begin demining Memot district on July 15. The district has 90 minefields which cover some 398ha,” he said.
He also said that a force of 176 troops had been detailed to demine the province. The first stage would last for 90 days, as would the second.
“This is the first step towards declaring Tbong Khmum mine-free. It is a historic achievement for the mine action sector of Cambodia,” he said.
He added that to end the presence of landmines in the province, the government would spend more than $760,000.
“In addition to the demining work in Tbong Khmum province, our team is also working with a team from the Royal Cambodian Armed forces (RCAF) to assess the minefields of Odong and Thpong districts of Kampong Speu province. We plan to begin this demining operation soon,” he said.
In the coming days, the CMAA will work with the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC), and the RCAF to implement the project.
“The support of their resources offers the CMAA the possibility of deploying more of its forces to clear more landmines and hit our goals,” Thuch continued.
Cambodia has demined more than 2,400sq km, although nearly 2,000sq km of minefields remain.
Thuch estimated that Cambodia needed a further $90 million to clear all landmines.