US provides Cambodia with underwater demining equipment

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-4-3 20:37:26

The United States on Thursday handed over underwater demining equipment to the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC)'s Underwater Demining Unit in northern Kampong Chhnang province, said a press statement from the US Embassy.

US Ambassador William E. Todd delivered the equipment, including inflatable boats, air compressors, lift bags, and other diving equipment to CMAC's Director General Heng Ratana.

"The donation represents the US government's commitment to developing the Cambodian government's capacity to eradicate mines, explosive remnants of war, and unexploded ordnance in the Mekong River and throughout the country," the statement said.

Todd said mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) were, unfortunately, a tragic reality in Cambodia.

"When we take action to eliminate these dangerous legacies of war, we are working to make our planet a safer place by protecting the lives of the innocent and increasing social and economic opportunities for some of the world's most disadvantaged people," he said.

He said over the past 20 years, the United States has invested over 61 million US dollars in demining and unexploded ordnance clearance operations in Cambodia.

The Southeast Asian nation is one of the world's worst hit by landmines. An estimated 4 million to 6 million landmines and other munitions left over from three decades of war and internal conflicts that ended in 1998.

So far, more than 3 million landmines and unexploded ordnance have been removed and destroyed, said Heng Ratana, adding that the country is seeking about 50 million US dollars a year until 2020 to entirely get rid of all types of anti-personnel mines.

Last year, landmines killed 22 people and injured 89 others.

Posted in: Asia-Pacific

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