Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Resources needed to hit demining goal

Resources needed to hit demining goal

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A CMAC worker clears landmines. A senior Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) official said on Monday that the organisation needs an additional budget of $406 million to meet its goal of 100% mine clearance by 2025. CMAC VIA Facebook

Resources needed to hit demining goal

A senior Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) official on Monday said the organisation needs an additional budget of $406 million and a further 1,000 mine-clearing personnel to meet its goal of 100 per cent mine clearance by 2025.

Senior minister and CMAA secretary-general Ly Thuch told The Post on Monday that the government has set the goal of clearing all land determined to contain mines and cluster bombs by 2025.

Thuch said there are currently 2,500 national and international de-miners in the Kingdom. With some ageing de-miners set to retire, he said the government needed fully qualified personnel to replace them.

“We spend a lot, but mine clearance brings huge benefits. It provides safety for people, prevents disabilities and the loss of lives. It helps farmers living along the border and other mine locations. It also alleviates poverty as people have the opportunity to farm safely. We want to turn mine-laden land into golden land,” he said.

Thuch said the government had spent more than $100 million on mine-clearing activities over the past 10 years, with around 10 countries actively contributing to the operations. He said Cambodia needs an annual budget of $10 million.

Thuch said CMAA is looking to recruit more soldiers from the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF). He said RCAF soldiers are strong and experienced, and would need only some additional training and equipment to participate in mine-clearing activities.

“We should inject fresh blood to expedite operations and achieve our goal by 2025. I cannot specify the exact number of soldiers we will recruit from the RCAF as yet, but we will do it accordingly."

“I don’t have the figures for retired [mine-clearing] officers, but there are more and more retirees year after year, while some are ill and cannot continue their work. Mine clearance requires strength and good health,” he said.

Thuch said the 10 highly experienced mine-clearance operators will be tasked with training new recruits.

Cambodian Mine Action Centre director (CMAC) Heng Ratana could not be reached for comment on Monday.

But Ratana on Facebook on March 31 cited the major challenges in building sustainable mine-clearance resources, including the establishment and development of a strong central command, training and research facilities, social affairs centres, and technical development, among others.

However, he said Cambodia had made great strides in developing its own human resources, reducing its reliance on foreign donors.

“Cambodians can do it. We have achieved a lot, including the breeding in 2018 of more than 60 mine-sniffing dogs that can detect mines and other unexploded ordnance. Most of the dogs have passed mine-detecting tests,” he said.

Since 1992, CMAA and 10 other mine clearance operators had removed unexploded ordnance from 1,823sqm of land and demined land for 4,320 families.

Among active donors that have contributed to mine clearance in the Kingdom are Japan, the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Norway, the European community, Germany, China, France, Denmark and New Zealand.

CMAA said on March 15 that casualties from mine and other unexploded ordnance have remarkably increased.

From January to April 4 this year, CMAA said there have been 44 cases of death and serious injury in Oddar Meanchey, Battambang, Ratanakkiri, Tbong Khmum and some other provinces from mines and unexploded ordnance.

MOST VIEWED

  • Rainsy stopped in Paris from boarding Thai flight

    Airline officials at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport on Thursday prevented Sam Rainsy from boarding his flight to Bangkok ahead of his announced return to Cambodia on Saturday. Prime Minister Hun Sen had earlier in the day assured Phnom Penh residents that there would be

  • Analyst: Rainsy blocked from boarding flight 'an excuse'

    THAI Airways not allowing Sam Rainsy on its route from Paris to Bangkok on Thursday is being used as an excuse to keep his standing among fellow coup plotters and his uninformed supporters as flights to non-Asean countries are available, an analyst said on Friday.

  • Rainsy lands in Malaysia

    Cambodian opposition figure Sam Rainsy arrived in Kuala Lumpur airport on Saturday afternoon after boarding a flight from Paris, where he has been living for more than four years. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesperson Koy Kuong said on Saturday that Cambodia respected

  • Sokha continues call for dropping of charge after bail conditions reduced

    Not satisfied with having his bail conditions reduced, allowing him to travel freely in Cambodia, Kem Sokha says he wants his charge totally dropped. “As an innocent man who has been in detention for two years even without being found guilty, I continue to demand

  • Touch: Rainsy will never return

    Sam Rainsy, the “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), has claimed it has achieved 70 per cent of its struggle to find a solution to the current political situation in the Kingdom. Just before boarding a plane at Charles de Gaulle

  • Prayut indicates no entry into Thailand for CNRP’s Rainsy

    Cambodian government officials on Wednesday welcomed the position of Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha after he indicated that Sam Rainsy would not be allowed to return to Cambodia through Thailand. “According to our commitment to Asean, we will not interfere in each other’s internal