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Cambodia reaching mine-free status province-by-province

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CMAC director-general Heng Ratana meets with deminers in Banteay Meanchey province on July 4. CMAC

Cambodia reaching mine-free status province-by-province

The Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistant Authority’s (CMAA) working group and demining operators will check out certain minefields beginning next week to evaluate mine-free progress.

CMAA will also draw up a budget plan for landmine clearance in Tbong Khmum, Takeo and Kampot provinces as well as nine towns and districts in preparation of declaring them mine-free.

“Cambodia is prepared to announce three provinces and nine towns and districts as mine free in the first stage of the implementation of the Samdech Techo Project for Mine Action (STP-MA), which provides for safe grounds and the creation of smiles,” said CMAA first vice-president Ly Thuch on July 4.

The meeting was participated by the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces, Mines and Explosive Remnants of War Clearance (NPMEC-ERW) and Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC).

It was organised to identify the priority goal, plan and divide demining forces under the first phase of the project.

“From July 11, CMAA’s working group with three demining operators will conduct the evaluation on site for one week. The announcement [mine free areas] is waiting for the technical team to check and submit the plan first,” Thuch said.

With the demining force division, NPMEC-ERW will go to Tbong Khmum province and CMAC will go to Kampot and Takeo provinces.

Thuch also confirmed that the meeting agreed to let the army clear the land in eight towns and districts before declaring them mine free.

They include Kratie province’s Chhlong and Chitr Borei districts; Preah Vihear province’s Tbeng Meanchey district and Preah Vihear town; Kampong Speu province’s Odong district; and Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and Sisophon town.

In the meantime, the CMAC will clear the land in Takeo and Kampot and declare them mine-free provinces.

Thuch said CMAC would join forces with the army to clear the land in Oddar Meanchey province’s Chongkal district before declaring it mine free.

“The next plan is to implement the procedures of demining and standards of mine action in Cambodia, which require the technical team to inspect and assess the situation of all minefields [size, type of minefield and geographical situation] to raise budget and put in the clearing forces,” he said.

According to CMAA, the capital 22 and provinces continue to be affected by mines, excluding cluster munitions and other ERWs, covering a total area of more than 716 million square metres , or 71,603.9ha.

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