For the past 10 days, a 13-person delegation of Iraqi demining experts has traveled the provinces in an attempt to learn how Cambodia grapples with landmines.
Cambodians have much to teach Iraqis, delegation members said Tuesday during an interview at the Cambodia Mine Action Authority office in Phnom Penh.
Nael Sharak Neema, head of mine risk education at the Iraqi Mine Action Authority, said the delegation learned about education strategies, communication coordination systems and data collection while they traveled throughout Phnom Penh and Pailin, Siem Reap and Kompong Speu province.
It is difficult to determine how many mines litter either country—estimates in Cambodia range from 4 to 6 million, while Iraqi estimates project some 23 million mines and UXO, plus an additional 20,000 unexploded cluster bombs.
The terrain—and thus the techniques for removing mines—is different in the two countries, but the techniques for how to rectify the danger posed by mines is similar, Neema said.
Like Cambodia, Iraq has a national mine action authority and a similar body called the Iraqi Kurdistan Mine Action Agency, which works in the northern part of the country, to regulate and coordinate the approximately 20 national and international private and public demining groups that work in Iraq, Neema said.
The delegation also visited the Cambodian Red Cross, the Cambodia Mine Action Center, the Disability Action Council, the National Center for Disabled Persons, the Ministry of Education, and a smattering of NGOs.