Prime Minister’s demining drive raises $16 million in a single week.

Government and private sector contributors have contributed more over $16 million to demining initiatives since Prime Minister Hun Sen announced the Samdech Techo Project for Mine Action on July 4 with the tagline “Providing Safe Ground, Creating Smiles.”

On July 12, Seng Tieng, secretary of state of the Council of Ministers, said that donations were still coming in.

We have received more than $16 million and 200 million riels as of July 11th. This shows a deep love for the country, he said.

On July 11, the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces, Mines and Explosive Remnants of War Clearance (NPMEC) and the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) jointly signed a contract to demine the Tbong Khmum province. The project’s timeline calls for the province to be completely demined within six months.

According to Senior Minister and CMAA First Vice President Ly Thuch, Prime Minister Hun Sen gave his approval for the contract’s signing. The initial phase would soon start.

In six months, we will declare the province of Tbong Khmum mine-free. The NPMEC is scheduled to start demining the Memot district on July 15 after signing this contract. About 398 acres of the district is covered by 90 minefields, according to him.

Senior Minister and CMAA First Vice President H.E Ly Thuch

He added that 176 soldiers had been deployed to a squad to demine the province. Both the first and second stages would last 90 days.

This marks the beginning of the process of declaring Tbong Khmum mine-free. For Cambodia’s mine action sector, it is a historic achievement, he said.

The government would spend more than $760,000, he noted, to eradicate landmines from the province.

“Our team is collaborating with a team from the Royal Cambodian Armed forces (RCAF) to analyze the minefields in the Odong and Thpong districts of Kampong Speu province in addition to the demining operation in the Tbong Khmum province. This demining effort will soon start, we hope,” he said.

The Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC), the RCAF, and the CMAA will collaborate to carry out the project over the next few days.

The CMAA will be able to deploy more forces to remove more landmines and achieve goals with their support, according to Thuch.

Although roughly 2,000 square kilometers of minefields still exist, Cambodia has demined more than 2,400 square kilometers.

Thuch calculated that an additional $90 million would be required to remove all landmines in Cambodia.

Source: The PhnomPenh Post

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