In the past year, HALO Trust Cambodia has demined more than 30 million square metres of land blighted with landmines and other unexploded ordnance (UXO), destroying hundreds of thousands of anti-personnel mines, anti-tank mines and explosive remnants of war.
HALO Trust Cambodia said it had in the past year demined 30,441,106sqm of land and destroyed 18,127 anti-personnel mines, 66 anti-tank mines and more than 28,000 explosive remnants of war. It had also run 9,262 courses to educate 83,119 people on the danger of landmines.
“We profoundly thank all staff, especially demining operators, for working tirelessly to eliminate the threat of landmines and UXO in Cambodia,” it said.
In mid-2022, Tbong Khmum province was declared mine-free, with HALO Trust contributing to the work.
Demining operators began detecting mines in communities in 2010, with the clearing of UXO being carried out from 2019-2020.
HALO Trust expressed its gratitude to the governments of the US, Germany, the UK, Switzerland and Ireland, as well as HDR&D, for their continued support of its life-saving humanitarian work.
British ambassador to Cambodia Dominic Williams, while visiting minefields in Siem Reap province with the HALO Trust team in December, hailed the NGO – which has worked in Cambodia since 1992 – for its endeavours.
“We came to look at their efforts in clearing mines, and we have seen that they have worked diligently, often in the hot sun, while most HALO Trust officials are Cambodians who have accomplished significant achievements for Cambodian communities,” Williams said.
Ly Thuch, senior minister and first vice-president of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), said HALO Trust had joined CMAA in providing safe land for some one million people over the past 30 years.
The team had cleared landmines and UXO from 433sqkm of land, finding and destroyed 322,515 mines and 212,260 other explosive remnants of war.
“HALO Trust Cambodia was the first NGO to come to help Cambodia in clearing landmines, joining us in the leadership of this field.
“From 1997 to 2022, 50 HALO Trust deminers encountered danger during mine clearance operations, nine of whom unfortunately died,” Thuch said.
He commended HALO Trust Cambodia on its dedication to clearing mines and saving the lives of Cambodians, no matter how precarious the situation.
HALO Trust has more than 1,100 members of staff, with six foreigners, 46 per cent of whom are female.