German-funded Demining Activities in Cambodia: A continued humanitarian commitment

Deminer Team Enlarge image (© The Halo Trust) Deminer Enlarge image (© The Halo Trust)

Civil war in Cambodia ended several decades ago, but due to the existing mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW), some parts of the country and some local communities do not yet to fully benefit from peace and stability .

Thanks to mine clearance activities of various stakeholders over the years casualties could be significantly reduced and local communities that used to be affected by landmines can now fully enjoy the productivity of their land. Since 1994 the German Government has provided more than 21 million Euros for mine clearance activities in Cambodia. However, a lot still needs to be done. To assist Cambodia in achieving her objective of becoming a total free-mine community,  the Government of Federal Republic of Germany , has more recently joined force with The Halo Trust, an international mine clearance NGO , The Humanitarian Mine Clearance in North-West Cambodia project has been running since February 2016 . The main objectives of the project are: to reduce number of mine and ERW casualties in the targeted areas, and to return cleared land to productive uses.

Over the first period of the project, the Halo Trust has deployed 17 mine-clearance teams and thanks for their hard work, by the time the report was assembled, the teams have already cleared 1,270,949 m2 and 84.2% of the cleared land will be returned for further usages in agriculture while another 10% will make transit safer within the impacted community. The remaining land is being surveyed.

Most importantly, the residents living in the impacted area are the core of the project. According to an interim report by the Halo Trust, over 6,400 people benefit directly from the clearance while as many as 42,500 people benefit indirectly. The number of casualty, on the other hand, is decreasing.

The German funded demining teams have been working across 70 minefields in the province of: Oddar Meanchey, Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Pailin, Preah Vihear, and Pursat. Currently, the teams have completed 30 minefields tasks while 260 anti-personel mines and 18 items of ERW were cleared. The project runs from February 2016 to December 2017.

The following video shows how the project’s activities are preparing the ground for further development activities like farming.