Cambodia launches China-aided landmine elimination project for 2023-2025

Xinhua, March 11, 2023

Cambodia has launched the China-aided landmine elimination project for 2023-2025, aiming to clear over 100 square kilometers of landmine and explosive remnants of war (ERW) in three provinces, Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) Director-General Heng Ratana said.

The launching event was held on Thursday in Siem Reap province.

"The China-Aided Cambodia Landmines Elimination Project 2023-2025 will support CMAC's landmine and ERW clearance operations in three Cambodian provinces, namely Kampong Thom, Siem Reap and Preah Vihear," Ratana wrote on his Facebook page.

This was the third phase of the China-Aided Cambodia Landmines Elimination Project, he said, adding that the first two phases started in 2018 and ended in 2022, clearing a total of 74.9 square kilometers of contaminated land and destroying 71,558 landmines and ERWs.

Ratana said the project in the first two phases benefited a total of 214,661 families.

Cambodia is one of the countries worst-affected by landmines and ERWs. An estimated 4 million to 6 million landmines and other munitions had been left over from three decades of war and internal conflicts that ended in 1998.

According to data by the Yale University, between 1965 and 1973, the United States dropped some 230,516 bombs on 113,716 sites in Cambodia.

The Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority said that from 1979 to 2022, landmine and ERW explosions claimed 19,818 lives and either injured or amputated 45,187 people in the kingdom.

The Southeast Asian nation is committed to getting rid of landmine and ERW contaminated land by 2025.