The explosive force of 60kg of landmines.
British Ambassador to Cambodia Mark Gooding has visited a landmine-affected village in Battambang province to see first-hand the impact British development aid is making.
Chisang village in Ratanak Mondul district is an area MAG has been working in since 1997. [See also MAG Blog: Voices from Chisang]
“Our demining programme here is helping to reduce the terrible effects that mine accidents can cause, as well as clearing land for use by local communities."
The effects of landmines are clearly evident in this sleepy location: 14 inhabitants are amputees, victims of mines laid during three different periods of fighting between 1979 and 1996.
To mark the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen, the Ambassador initiated a bulk demolition of 60kg – 1kg for each year of Queen Elizabeth's reign – of TMN-46 and Type 59 anti-tank mines cleared from farmers’ fields by MAG’s UKaid-funded teams.
TMN-46 and Type 59 anti-tank mines laid out prior to the demolition.
Ambassador Gooding commented: "Today we celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee by detonating a huge stock of mines and unexploded ordnance.
"Cambodia is the number one recipient of UK demining funding in the world.
“Our demining programme here is helping to reduce the terrible effects that mine accidents can cause, as well as clearing land for use by local communities.
“This helps communities establish sustainable livelihoods and will contribute to Cambodia's long-term economic and social development. Our release of 14 newly mine-cleared fields is an important step in this process."
Following a symbolic land handover ceremony with Deputy Provincial
Governor Excellency Suk Kung, District Chief Sae Sameth and 150
community members, British Ambassador Mark Gooding initiates a bulk demolition of 60kg of
anti-tank mines, with MAG Explosive Ordnance Disposal supervisor Prom Sarin in attendance.
This year MAG is proudly celebrating 20 years of saving lives and building futures in Cambodia. This sustained period of work could only be possible thanks to the generous donor support MAG has had over the years.
MAG’s Country Director Alistair Moir said: “It is a fantastic honour to have Ambassador Gooding with us today to see first-hand the development-honed clearance work MAG is conducting.
“It’s great for us all to be part of a rather unique Diamond Jubilee Celebration for Her Majesty the Queen. Mine action funding has on the whole decreased in Cambodia over recent years, however MAG – and so the Cambodian people we ultimately serve – are very grateful for the continuing support of UKaid and our other key donors.”
After the demolition, Ambassador Gooding was taken on a visit to a minefield, along with Deputy Provincial Governor Excellency Suk Kung and District Chief Sae Sameth, to see clearance work taking place at close quarters.
One of MAG’s UKaid-funded mine clearance teams.
12 June 2012
Cambodia report (2011) [PDF]
Thanks to the following donors to MAG's operations in Cambodia. Without their funding, our work in the country could not be carried out:
• Actiefonds Minjnen Ruimen
• Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
• Life with Dignity, Finn Church Aid and the Government of Finland
• Manx Landmine Action
• Medico International
• NVESD HD R and D Program
• Quaker Peace & Social Witness (QPSW)
• The Hurvis Foundation
• The Rainbow World Fund
• The Rowan Charitable Trust
• UKaid (UK Department for International Development)
• US Department of State's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement