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Japan provides $1.7M for demining

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A danger sign marks near unexploded ordnance. CMAC

Japan provides $1.7M for demining

The Japanese government has provided more than $1.76 million to Japan Mine Action Service (JMAS) to implement a demining project in Banteay Meanchey province and a cluster munitions clearance effort in Stung Treng province.

The Japanese embassy in Cambodia said on March 1 that through their programme providing grant assistance for Japanese NGO projects the government of Japan had awarded $1.76 million US dollars to JMAS to carry out their “Reconstruction Support for Demining in Banteay Meanchey Project” for its first year of operations and the “Reconstruction Support with Cluster Munitions Disposal Project in Stung Treng,” also in its first year of operations.

Japan’s embassy also announced a grant award of just over $470,000 to Japanese NGO Kokkyo naki Kodomotachi (KnK) to implement the second year of its project “Capacity Building of Youth in Pailin, Cambodia: Reinforcement of the Community Learning Centre.”

The grant contract singing ceremony was held with Japanese Ambassador Mikami Masahiro and representatives from the two organizations but appropriate social distancing measures were observed in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent community transmission events.

“We believe that these grant assistances will enhance the quality of life for people in each project area,” read a statement from the Japanese embassy.

The representative of JMAS in Cambodia Noriyoshi Seunaga told The Post that JMAS began its mine-clearing activities in Cambodia in 2002 in partnership with CMAC, thus marking this year as their twentieth anniversary.

As of September 2020, JMAS had cleared approximately 4,100 hectares of minefields including more than 20,000 anti-personnel mines, 650 anti-tank mines and 390,000 Unexploded Ordnances (UXO). It also responded more than 37,000 times to requests by local people to dispose of mines and UXOs found near their living-spaces.

“We have also constructed 11 schools and more than 80 km of roads with side-ditches and about 50 agricultural ponds in and around the minefields,” he said.

JMAS is also working on a private-funded project for basic infrastructure building in Battambang and Banteay Meanchey with 28 JMAS members including 7 Japanese, who are supported by about 100 deminers of CMAC, Noriyoshi Seunaga said.

“From this year, JMAS will start providing agricultural support activities in addition to demining and infrastructure-building by providing local farmers with agricultural techniques and agricultural ponds for water supply in the dry season, which means JMAS will persevere in its various charitable activities in Cambodia,” he said.

First vice-president of Mine Action Coordination Committee (MACC) Ly Thuch said that in order for Cambodia to achieve its mine free Cambodia 2025 goal the Kingdom needed stronger commitments from the international community and donor countries assisting in the mine clearance sector.

“On behalf of MACC and its committee chairman Prime Minister Hun Sen, I express my profound thanks to the government and the people of Japan for their assistance in our mine clearance efforts, which will save lives and reduce poverty. We thank JMAS as brilliant operator. Assistance in mine clearance is truly international humanitarian assistance with a great deal of compassion,” he said.

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