Preah Sihanouk province was officially declared landmine free on February 24, making it the sixth province to be declared free of landmines. Authorities are committed to clearing 12 more provinces of landmines by the end of the year.
The ceremony held to declare the province landmine free was presided over by Meas Sopheal, Senior Minister in charge of the government's special mission on landmines, unexploded ordnance (UXO) and explosive remnants of war (ERW) in Commune 4 of Sihanoukville.
Preah Sihanouk provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun said that Preah Sihanouk had 2,660,515 sq metre of surface area affected by landmines. The Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC) start clearing it in 2004 and found 11,149 landmines and UXOs, including 208 anti-personnel landmines, 89 MK bombs, 39 cluster bombs and 10,813 ERW.
“The announcement that Preah Sihanouk province is landmine-free comes on the same day as Cambodia observation of National Mine Awareness Day on February 24 which is held this year under the theme of “together for a community free from the dangers of landmines and UXO,” Chamroeun said.
According to Sophea, five provinces and the capital have been declared landmine free: Phnom Penh and Stung Treng, Kep, Prey Veng, Tbong Khmum and now Preah Sihanouk provinces, with Cambodia aiming to achieve landmine-free status nationwide by 2025.