The demining operator HALO Trust vowed on July 22 to make Siem Reap province landmine-free by clearing the remaining 57.89 sq km with 659 minefields.
The vow came in response to an appeal from Prime Minister Hun Sen who endorsed the plan to make Cambodia landmine-free by 2025 and injected new life into the effort with the “Samdech Techo Project for Mine Action” (STP-MA) launched earlier this month to mobilise additional funding for the work.
A letter from the HALO Trust programme director Miles Hawthorn dated July 22 and addressed to Ly Thuch, first vice-president of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) outlined HALO’s timeline for accomplishing this goal.
“We will deploy our forces to clear mines from August onwards and we will be able to declare Siem Reap town and Kralanh district to be the first landmine free districts by the end of this year,” the letter states.
The letter goes on to say that the other Siem Reap districts will all be cleared gradually over the next two to three years on schedule to meet the 2025 goal.
According to CMAA, HALO Trust has received funding for its demining operations from the governments of the US, UK, Switzerland, Ireland and Germany.
Ly Thuch, on behalf of the prime minister, thanked HALO Trust for their demining help over the past 30 years in Cambodia which has made the Kingdom safer and saved the lives of untold numbers of Cambodians, while also contributing to national development.
Thuch said he will preside over the 30th anniversary of the HALO Trust mine action operations in Cambodia, scheduled to be held in Siem Reap on July 25.
Separately, HALO Trust has also agreed to the CMAA’s request to clear landmines in three districts of Banteay Meanchey province: Sisophon town, Mongkol Borei and Preah Netr Preah, which together cover more than a square kilometer of mine-infested territory.