The Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) called for more funding to enable it to deploy enough resources to reach the Kingdom’s mine-free goal, which is just three years away.
“Without adequate financing, we cannot deploy our resources effectively enough to clear all the mines in Cambodia. This means that more people will lose their lives and more families will be devastated,” said CMAA first vice-president Ly Thuch.
He made the statement at the June 24 annual general meeting of the Malaysia business chamber of Cambodia (MBCC), held in Phnom Penh.
In front of Malaysian ambassador Eldeen Husaini Mohd Hashim and MBCC president Tan Khee Meng, Thuch said a lack of funds does not just affect the deployment of the CMAA’s teams, but also support for their operations. It also restricted their potential for increasing their demining capacity.
The CMAA and the mine action community – along with the government – have created multiple approaches to help release land more effectively and speed up the process of achieving a mine-free Cambodia by 2025, he said.
The approaches include the improvement of planning through the use of the latest technologies in locational data management and analysis, along with the improvement and strengthening of monitoring systems and the capacity of the mine action teams.
“We adapted multiple methodologies in land release. We encourage research and development of projects that provide new ways of speeding up the clearance process,” added Thuch.
The Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) and the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces, Mine, and Explosive Remnants of War Clearance (NPMEC-ERW) have both supported demining activities from the beginning. In order to provide even more support, both organisations will mobilise additional troops support operations, he said.
The CMAA created the mine free village programme to mobilise additional financial resources from traditional and non-traditional donors, development partners, the private sector, civil society organisations, and individuals, to fund dedicated village clearance teams.
“For prospective partners, the mine-free village approach gives flexibility to donors. A small amount of funding sees immediate outcomes by ensuring an individual village is free from mines. This provides at-risk communities with the reassurance that their village is now safe to live and work in,” Thuch added.
According to the CMAA, more than one million people throughout the Kingdom live in fear and work in areas contaminated by mines and explosive remnants of war. Cambodia needs to clear approximately 736sq km of known mine contaminated land by 2025.
It said international donors have been supporting Cambodia for 30 years, with millions of dollars donated for mine clearance and victim assistance every year.
“We know that our international friends and donors would love to free Cambodia from the scourge of mines as soon as possible. However they have to spread their love and support to other friends and families in need all over the world. The plague of war does not just affect us. Many other nations are suffering, most recently Ukraine,” said Thuch.