Oddar Meanchey - Germany contributes an additional 3.5 million euros for mine clearance in Cambodia in 2020 and 2021. The mine clearance organization HALO Trust will implement the program. On 17 March 2020, Ambassador Christian Berger announced the contribution at a joint field visit with Senior Minister Ly Touch to a minefield in Ou Smach, Oddar Meanchey province.
Ambassador Berger: “Mines are a legacy of an agonizing past and remain an impediment to development. We – the Royal Government and international partners – need to step up our efforts to achieve the goal to declare Cambodia mine-free by 2025. Germany is committed to continue supporting mine clearance activities in the country towards this goal.”
What is the impact of mine clearance? Besides reducing casualties, clearance enables communities to use prime agricultural land that was previously unusable because of landmines. The majority of land cleared by German-funded teams in 2019 will be used for growing cassava, cashew, maize, rice, rubber tree, and mangoes. Almost 1,500 tons of crops will be grown every year on these recently cleared minefields, generating steady and sustainable income for farmers and jobs for communities.
Another example of how German-funded demining is improving the lives of Cambodian people is the clearance of a minefield next to a school in Phnum Mouy Roy village, Koh Kong province. Here, 46 children wait to use a brand new school facility that remains vacant because landmines were discovered just below the surface directly behind this facility. There are still many more areas like this village where minefields are a feature of everyday life.
The world’s oldest and largest humanitarian mine clearance organization, HALO Trust, has been working in Cambodia for over 27 years, clearing landmines and other explosive remnants of war in areas where communities are at risk.