The Japanese Embassy to Cambodia has donated over US$ 720,000 for explosive ordnance disposal in Siem Reap, Kampong Speu and Takeo provinces in a move to contribute with rural development and reduce the suffering for local people.
Under the framework of the grant assistance for the Japanese NGO’s project, the government of Japan provides that fund to Japan Mine Action
Services (JMAS) and the grant contact was signed at the Japanese Embassy in Phnom Penh on October 5th between H.E Mr. Kuroki Masafumi, ambassador of Japanese Embassy to Cambodia, and Mr. Watanabe Eiki, resident representative of JMAS to implement the project.
Japanese ambassador H.E. Kuroki said that the project of supporting explosive ordnances disposal in Siem Reap, Kampong Speu and Takeo provinces in Cambodia and it is very important to help local people. “This project and fund will help contribute to strengthening the bilateral cooperation between Cambodia and Japan. And it is also a part of humanitarian works from Japanese people in Cambodia,” H.E. Kuroki said.
He added that under this project, JMAS will operate 8 explosive ordnance disposal teams in collaboration with Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) in Siem Reap, Kampong Speu and Takeo provinces where people are still suffering from the remaining unexploded ordnances (UXO). Through this project, JMAS will also
deploy community –based UXO risk reduction teams to collect UXO information and to implement an awareness activity for local people in order to help them recognize the risk of UXO and avoid careless UXO accidents.
avoid careless UXO accidents. “It is estimated that the project BY CHHORNG LONG HENG will clear about 2,800 UXO contaminated sites among from about 6,200 contaminated sites in the targeted 3 provinces,” the ambassador said. He added that the grant assistance for Japanese NGO’s project started in Cambodia in 2002 to support activities by Japanese NGOs to help Cambodia’s reconstruction and development efforts at the grassroots level.
Since 2002, the government of Japan has provided over 13.1 million for 56 projects the Japanese NGOs, mainly in the fields of primary education, health and mine actions. The project by JMAS is the third one funded by this grant scheme in Japanese fi scal year 2010 (April 2010-March 2011). The Ambassador continued to say that the mine and UXOs remained from the civil war and about 6,400 villages in the country suffered and the authorities are trying to clear mine for land to grow agricultural crops and destroyed mine.
Oum Phumro, Deputy Director General of Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC), said that fund will be a key for contributing more activities to clear mine and help local people to avoid suffering from the explosive ordnances. “In 2010, we planned to clear about 35-40 square kilometer of land but so far we achieved about 45 square kilometers of land and turn that land into agricultural land. In 2010, we needed about US$ 10-11 million to implement our work and budgets are
from big donor like Japan, Germany, and other EU countries, Australia and the United states.” He added that so far this year the number of people suffered from mine and UXOs topped 100 cases and about 30-40 people died. The suffering from mine and UXOs are still our concern. According to the Ottawa convention, we have to clean mine in 2010 but we need about ten years for this time to clean mine and UXOs. According to the CMAC’s report in 2010, the land mine casualties were decreased from 1691 in 1993 to 244 in 2009. (SEAW)
BY CHHORNG LONG HENG