New Zealand has awarded Cambodia a NZ$5.9 million ($3.8 million) grant to assist mine-clearing operations for six years in Battambang, Banteay Meanchey and Pailin provinces.
The grant coincided with Pailin authorities clearing 10 MD82B landmines in Pramay Kha commune in Pailin town on Saturday.
Ly Thuch, Senior Minister and first vice-president of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), said New Zealand joins a long list of other countries and organisations contributing to mine clearance in Cambodia.
“We would like to thank the government and people of New Zealand for their continued contribution in providing safe land to the community and reducing landmine hazards.
“In particular, the mine authorities highly value the partnership and good cooperation with these donors,” he said.
Pailin authorities and Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) officials on Saturday collected 10 MD82B landmines buried in a plot of farmland in Bor Hua Tbong Village, Boyakha commune, Pailin town, in Pailin province.
Provincial deputy police chief Ung Sophal said the landmines will be kept at a safe place. Among the 10 mines, some were potentially explosive while others were deemed ineffective.
Sophal said people used machinery to flatten their land near the river bank. While they were excavating land, they found the 10 landmines clustered together.
The presence of the mines frightened the machine operator, who stopped digging and immediately reported them to local authorities.
Sophal said the same farm owner had rented machinery for a similar task in the same area on May 27 and detonated two landmines. Two people were seriously injured and sent to Pailin Referral Hospital.