Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CMAC operations continuing unabated despite Covid-19

CMAC operations continuing unabated despite Covid-19

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A demining expert removes a UXO unit in Kampong Cham province’s Kampong Siem district on May 3. CMAC

CMAC operations continuing unabated despite Covid-19

In the first four months of this year, Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) cleared more than 35 million square metres of land, detecting and destroying over 15,000 landmines and other unexploded ordnance (UXO), according to CMAC director-general Heng Ratana.

Ratana said CMAC also held 5,818 information session to instruct groups on landmines and other munitions leftover from wars. The sessions reached almost 200,000 households.

He said that in the first four months, CMAC cleared land equivalent to more than 94 per cent of its objective. This is equal to 31.38 per cent of the annual plan or a total of 15,348 landmines and UXOs destroyed.

According to Ratana, CMAC hoped that by the end of this year, the organisation would be able to achieve about 117 sq km of its target. But to reach this goal, it depends on the resources available and the location of UXOs.

Considering CMAC’s operations amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, he said the results have been a remarkable achievement.

“Although Covid-19 is rampant in the country, CMAC has not missed a job or suspended operations, meaning that we have achieved our goals without hesitation,” he said.

“The challenge for our forces is not to rest at home. For more than three months, we have asked them to stay in their operations area. We forbid them from travelling because of Covid-19. But it does not affect operations as our forces are united and do not need to travel much,” he said.

Separately, Chhun Bora, Explosive Ordinance Disposal supervisor and training manager at Cambodia Self Help Demining (CSHD), said that in the first five months of this year, CSHD staff have found and destroyed more than two thousands landmines and UXOs.

“From January 1 to May 30, a total of 2,522 rounds of ammunition were destroyed. The ammunition has not been categorised,” he said.

Bora noted that this year, the detection of landmines was more than last year as people had encroached on forest land laden with mines, especially in the provinces bordering Thailand such as Oddar Meanchey and Preah Vihear.

“Encroachment on uncleared land is dangerous because of UXOs. It takes time for demining teams to clear them. People need to contact [experts] to clear mine-laden areas,” Bora said.

MOST VIEWED

  • All foreigners' accommodations to be inspected: Sar Kheng

    The Ministry of Interior is undertaking a serious effort to inspect all the accommodations of foreigners in Cambodia – except diplomats – in order to find and identify human traffickers. Minister Sar Kheng said this would include inspections on the homes of foreigners employed by businesses, private

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • NBC eyes KHQR payments in Laos, Vietnam

    The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) is working with Lao and Vietnamese authorities to expand the use of KHQR code cross-border payment systems to promote trade and investment as well as increase the scope of regional economic linkages, and in particular, facilitate remittances from overseas