Kratie is expected to be declared the next mine-free province in June, becoming the 13th provincial-level region to receive the status, according to Ly Thuch, first vice-president of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA).

“Thanks to the Samdech Techo Project for Mine Action [STP-MA], 50 per cent of the province has already been cleared, under the slogan ‘Providing Safe Ground, Creating Smiles’,” he said while presiding over the closing of a mine clearance site in Kratie on April 10.

He said Kratie province was one of 10 to benefit from the project.

“Through the 2025 Mine-Free Cambodia Foundation, Prime Minister Hun Sen has earmarked part of the national budget to clear the remaining landmines in Kratie province, which is expected to be declared mine-free in June,” he said.

According to the CMAA, in the 10 months since July 2022, under the STP-MA, about 1,700 demining units have been deployed in 10 provinces. They have cleared over 91sq km, or about 995 minefields.

It added that mine clearance action over the past 30 years had made a large contribution to the peace and security of the people, while also contributing to a reduction in poverty. A total of 2,579sq km was now safe to use, with about 76 per cent o it being used for agriculture.

In the last six years, Cambodia had cleared more than a third of the landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) that have been cleared in the past three decades.

Earlier this month, at a meeting with an inter-governmental technical team and development partner, Thuch estimated that the Kingdom would need another $138 million in the next two years to achieve the 2025 mine-free vision.

To date, Phnom Penh and the provinces of Stung Treng, Kep, Prey Veng, Preah Sihanouk, Tbong Khmum, Kampong Cham, Svay Rieng, Kampong Chhnang, Kandal, Takeo and Kampot have been declared mine-free.