BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA
The Under Japan’s Economic Cooperation Framework, the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security “KUSANONE” and the Grand Assistance for Japanese NGOs projects, the Government of Japan have provided US$1,481,740 to Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) and Japan Mine Action Service (JMAS).
The ceremony was held at the Embassy of Japan in Phnom Penh on October 8, signed by Kuroki Masafumi, Ambassador of Japan to Cambodia and Heng Rattana, Director General of the CMAC, and Koga Hidemastsu, Resident Representative of JMAS.
Masafumi said the humanitarian assistance aimed to protect vulnerable individuals from such factors as poverty and misfortunes that directly threaten their lives, livelihood, and dignity, as well as at the promoting self-reliance of local communities.
“I believe that these two projects will contribute to reduce mines casualties as well as to clear all mines and other UXOs in Cambodia,” he said.
Heng Ratana, CMAC’s Director-General, said that the contracts marked another important cooperation between the Embassy of Japan and CMAC in the spirit of supporting landmine and ERW clearance efforts to rid this country of this killer.
The Director-General said that so far Japan has already provided over US$62 million since 1998 to support CMAC’s demining activities in Cambodia. This support has covered operational costs, equipments, and technical assistance.
He said that since 1992 to September 2009, CMAC has been cleared over 250 kilo square meters, and found and destroyed more than 1.8 million mines and UXO in Cambodia. This represents around 50 percent of the total national clearance achievements and around 70 percent of the total number of mines and UXO destroyed in Cambodia by all operators.
“We fully acknowledge that these achievement and progress would have been impossible without the generous support from our donors, especially Japan,” he said.
According to the Project for Supporting Humanitarian Mine Clearance in Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces which are the heavily mine affected provinces in Cambodia.
This project costs US$652,549 and CMAC will this take money to clear minefields with 5 brushes cutters teams, 3 long and 1 short leash mine detection do teams, 3 mobile platoons, 2 community mine clearance teams, 2 mines risk education and reduction team, a technical survey team and an explosive ordnance team. Once demining operations are completed, the land will be handed over to the communities to undertake development activities.
The Project for Supporting Explosive Ordnance Disposal in Kampong Cham, Kampong Speu and Kandal provinces costs US$829,191. Under this project, JMAC will operate 8 explosive ordnance disposal teams in collaboration with CMAC in Kampong Cham, Kampong Speu, and Kandal provinces, where people are still suffering from a large number of remaining UXO. The project will also support community based UXO Risk Education to collect and provide information on UXO accidents and its locations through the village network. It is expected that the project will reduce the number of UXO-related accidents in Cambodia.