Ending the fear in Cambodia
Task completion and land handover in Siem Reap.
On November 29th, 2019 APOPO held a handover ceremony of releasing 788,257 square meters that were cleared in the past 3 months, with over 170 anti personnel landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) found and destroyed. The land was delivered back to 19 families from the village of Trapeang Krasang, in Siem Reap Province.
APOPO alongside local partner the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) is conducting a humanitarian landmine clearance project in the northern Siem Reap and Preah Vihear provinces. The teams are targeting the most mine-affected villages in order to return safe, productive land back to communities where it makes the biggest impact.
Landmines are still inflicting pain and fear to a new generation in Cambodia. Clearing minefields is intense, difficult, dangerous work and demands accuracy and time. This is where the HeroRATs come in. Integrating the HeroRATs into conventional methods has significantly increased the speed of landmine detection, which boosts the daily square meter coverage and clearance, and allowing people to get back on their land as quickly as possible.
The villagers of Trapeang Krasang were living with the fear of life or limb every day until APOPO arrived and started clearing the land. In a country where poverty is widespread, cultivating land is a vital source of income and this newly accessible land will be used for growing cashew nuts, cassava and rice.
The ceremony was held in the school yard that happens to be right next to the cleared minefield. Students, their families and friends from the village, and staff that participated in the clearance operation all attended the ceremony. On this occasion, the project was also hosting a visit from JTI Senior Vice President Ms. Suzanne Wise, accompanied by colleagues from HQ and Cambodia. JTI foundation continues to provide vital support to the APOPO Cambodia program making our life-saving work possible.
As a final part of the ceremony, three buddhist monks blessed the project and the participants and as a special tribute APOPO planted three young seedlings around the school, as a symbol of prosperity and growth for the local community.
APOPO Cambodia remains most grateful to its donors and partners who are
instrumental to the success of our landmine clearance program.