Japan Pledges $9M to Demining in Battambang

The government of Japan will donate about $9.13 million to the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) to further their efforts in clearing Battambang province’s Bavel and Ratanak Mondol districts, two of the most heavily mined areas nationwide, officials said Wednesday.

The money would be spent to aid about 300 staff in the area who will clear about 5,000 hectares of contaminated land, said Heng Ratana, CMAC’s executive director.

“We will get over $9 million from Japan on Monday,” he added.

“CMAC will also provide support to the community to build com­munity roads there and ponds and provide them with agricultural training,” Mr. Ratana said.

In Phase 1 of the project, which was also funded by the government of Japan, CMAC over the past three years cleared 3,800 hec­tares considered priority areas, he said.

“In that time, the income of the community increased from 3 million riel [or about $750] to 11 million per year [or about $2,750],” as residents could increase their farmland and were taught how to farm year-round, Mr. Ratana said.

“Now in Phase II, we work in the same area but extend further to­wards Thailand, to the west of Bat­tambang. That area is heavily contaminated and a lot of people live there because the land is fertile,” he said, adding that the project will benefit some 10,000 families.

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