The demining agency Halo Trust celebrated the destruction of its 1-millionth land mine or piece of unexploded ordnance worldwide, with Cindy McCain, the wife of US Senator John McCain, on hand in Siem Reap to fire the charge that detonated 73 mines and UXOs.
The explosion was part of a coordinated demolition in nine countries on Wednesday.
The Halo Trust has cleared a total of 425 minefields in Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear and Pursat provinces.
McCain said that she chose to support the Halo Trust because “they are not a political organization” and because she said it is a fiscally responsible organization.
“I picked Cambodia because my husband and I have great deal of interest in Southeast Asia and Cambodia has the greatest concentration of land mines on the planet,” McCain said.
John McCain, from the US state of Arizona, was a prisoner of war in Hanoi during the war in Vietnam.
Besides the demolition, McCain spent three days with the Halo Trust and observed demining efforts in Preah Vihear and Anlong Veng provinces.
The Halo Trust’s staff consists of 1,000 mineclearers and support staff, only three of whom are expatriates.