Ambassador William Heidt visited the field operations of Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) in Ratanakiri province on Thursday, where he saw ongoing work supported by the U.S. government to eliminate unexploded ordnance (UXO) and landmines. The Ambassador was invited to tour the region by Senior Minister Ly Thuch, Secretary General of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA).
The Ambassador had the opportunity to meet with approximately 100 local villagers who have benefitted from U.S.-financed efforts to clear land. He saw dogs trained to sniff out explosives and how teams from NPA and CMAA determine which areas need to be cleared of UXO.
In the last 20 years, the United States has invested more than $114 million on humanitarian projects in Cambodia to clear landmines and other explosives remaining as a legacy of internal and regional conflicts.
“The United States has a long history of working with our partners in government, communities, and the NGO sector to address the problem of landmines and unexploded ordnance,” Ambassador Heidt said. “What I saw today in Ratanakiri shows the dedication of the many professionals who are putting their lives on the line to make Cambodia a safer place to live.”
NPA is one of many non-governmental organizations the U.S. government has partnered with to eliminate explosive remnants of war in Cambodia. Other partners that conduct large-scale survey and clearing operations include The HALO Trust, Mines Advisory Group (MAG), Cambodia Mine Action Center (CMAC), and Cambodian Self Help Demining. With U.S. government support, the Golden West Humanitarian Foundation developed Cambodia’s first underwater explosive ordnance recovery team and the Spirit of Soccer provides mine-risk education to teach children about the dangers of land mines and other explosive remnants of war.