Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) renews partnership with APOPO
APOPO is proud to announce that CMAC in Cambodia has committed to another year of partnership.
CMAC Director- General, His Excellency Heng Ratana, met on December 29th 2017, in Phnom Penh with APOPO Program Manager Paul McCarthy to sign the memorandum of understanding for continuance of APOPO’s Mine detection Rat (MDR) program. APOPO will continue to provide MDR teams as part of CMAC’s integrated mine clearance operations Siem Reap province.
“With this assistance we hope to clear around 800,000 m2 of landmine contaminated areas,” said Mr Ratana to the Khmer Times.
The negative impact posed by landmines to the development of countries like Cambodia is immeasurable. Leftover landmines from the civil war remain active and dangerous long after the hostilities ended; causing terror, killing indiscriminately and hampering the development of vulnerable communities like those in Siem Reap.
Used as a unique add-on to conventional detection methods, APOPO’s Mine Detection Rats are proven to significantly speed up conventional landmine detection methods, allowing partners like CMAC to identify ] the landmines faster than with metal detectors. Once CMAC excavates and destroys the explosives, the safe land is then handed back to vulnerable communities. The mine rats enable landmine detection as quickly and cost-effectively as possible and are gaining ground as a go-to tool for operators to beat declining funding in the sector.
The arrival of CMAC and APOPO teams to the area has been a huge relief to the inhabitants around Siem Reap such as the Phouk family.
“When APOPO and CMAC arrived, they took a week to clear my field and found six homemade landmines that were still live. For so long we had driven, ploughed, and dug right next to them but never hit them. I can’t explain how that feels, or the relief we felt when we were told the fields are now safe.” - Phouk Nil.
In 2017, APOPO/CMAC teams cleared more than 730,000 m2 of land and found and destroyed over 1,700 landmines and explosive remnants of war.
APOPO Cambodia is deeply grateful for the support and generous contributions of its partners and donors.