First all-female demining crew in Cambodia broke down barriers to carry out a mission.

Dozens of young women work daily in eastern Cambodia to clear away some of the remnants left behind from the Vietnam War, including millions of unexploded ordnances (UXO).

In 2017 Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) employed the only all-female survey teams in Cambodia to search the eastern Ratanakiri area for the remains of the bombs as part of an international cleanup effort.

UXO still have an effect on Cambodians since 30% of them left scattered over the countryside. Among the millions of bombs dropped on Cambodia, cluster bombs are among the most hazardous and problematic since each one each one released 600 “bombies,” or smaller submunitions making the cleanup work much more challenging.

Although less unstable than landmines, UXO can still result in fatalities or serious injuries, especially when struck by a plow or hoe.

In an effort to speed Cambodia’s elimination of all landmines by 2025, the government has also launched a fundraising campaign.

Tycoons, officials, and artists have all contributed to the project’s funding, which totals roughly $13.50 million so far.

In appreciation for the initiative to raise funds for demining efforts, Heng Ratana, Director-General of the Cambodian Mines Centre (CMAC), praised Mr. Hun Sen.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen has saved the nation, ended the war, continues to assist in easing the suffering of the people, and strives to release the Cambodian people from the threat of war since 1979,” he said.

Recently, Cambodia and Norway have reiterated their shared commitment to bilateral and multilateral cooperation, particularly in the field of mine clearance.

April 26, 2017 – Banlung (Cambodia). Team leader Phorn Chan cracks a joke with the rest of the team at NPA’s headquarters. © Thomas Cristofoletti / Ruom

Heng Ratana, the director general of the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC), and Rune Kristian Dale Anderson, the head of Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) in Cambodia, recently met at the CMAC’s offices in Phnom Penh to reconfirm their commitment.

The official statement of the two sides’ continuous collaboration to eliminate mines from the Cambodian-Thai border and mine-free some Cambodian districts by 2022 was also welcomed.

Source:Thomas Cristofoletti

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