This is a common question we hear about Cambodia.
Our answer: “YES!”
While no one knows exact totals, we only have estimated guesses in the millions.
Our five 4-member Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams of the Cambodian Self Help Demining group (CSHD) are finding ordnance on a daily basis. They take these photos of their finds which you can see here. This blog shows the daily finds back to November 21, 2017!! (As of 14 Feb, 2018, that is 160 posts of which 25 are of the Mine Risk Education classes being given. That is a lot of explosives being rendered safe!)
The CSHD team works on a predetermined site for 25 days at a time. However, when men, women or children find a suspected UneXploded Ordnance (UXO) anywhere else, they are to report it to the police or military. They in turn will give a “Call Out” to EOD teams who then travel to these random sites ASAP. (This is similar to Emergency Medical Technicians – EMT – in the US as they respond to an emergency.)
Upon arrival the danger level is assessed. Plans are then made for safe removal and disposal of their findings. “Requests” are often made when other people come up to report areas to the team to describe items of suspicious findings.
These “found objects” can be out in open fields, deep in the jungle, in trees and among plants, close to buildings, hidden under crevices in the earth, and even next to or in/on structures, Many of these UXO have been secretly waiting for 40 years or more.
Removing UXO gives the area back to the local people so that they can continue safely living and using the land.
Mine Risk Education (MRE) classes are given to all those around. Picture cards show what to look for. (See the example pages as part of this blog.) Notebooks are given out with examples on the covers. Role play games may take place where participants experience the effect to their body to be missing a limb due to an exploded landmine.
While the main funding for groups comes from different organizations, please feel free to make your own donation to support this and other activities of the Landmine Relief Fund. Our average donations run around $50 so you see even “small” makes “big” ripples!
Please note: Dates are posted International Style: dd/mm/yy