Norwegian People’s Aid has worked in Cambodia since 1992 to make land safe for communities affected by landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war that were left behind after decades of conflict that ended in the late 1990s.
Almost half a century after the bombs stopped falling, scars of the Vietnam War are still visible in Cambodia’s eastern provinces. Among the rice fields and forests, nearby roads and homes, the tranquil Cambodian countryside is haunted by a hidden hazard that waits, patiently, for its next victim. Millions of landmines, cluster munitions and other unexploded bombs litter the fields, posing a threat to anyone unfortunate enough to cross their paths.
Cambodia suffered from heavy bombardment during the 1960s and 1970s, with some 80,000 cluster munitions – totalling around 26 million sub-munitions – dropped on the northern and eastern provinces. Regional and internal conflicts spanning almost 30 years also left a deadly legacy of landmines that contaminate the country’s north and western provinces, particularly along the Thai border.
Extensive contamination of these dangerous and indiscriminate weapons continues to threaten the livelihoods, socio-economic development, and quality of life of those living in affected areas. Cambodia’s rural poor are the hardest hit by landmine and cluster munition contamination. Poverty and reliance on subsistence agriculture often demand that people use land for farming despite the risk.
Since 1979, mines or other unexploded munitions have killed or injured over 64,000 Cambodians, and on average, each week claims a new victim. Many of them are children.
NPA Mine Action and Disarmament Programme in Cambodia
NPA’s vision is a Cambodia where landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war no longer pose a risk to people and are no longer an obstacle to development.
Cambodia was the first country in which NPA began its mine action efforts, beginning in 1992. Since then, NPA has established close working relations with the largest national demining operator CMAC (Cambodian Mine Action Centre) and the national mine action authority CMAA (Cambodian Mine Action Authorities). NPA has provided capacity building, technical assistance and quality assurance to the national institutions, and in 2013 began its own operations in north-eastern Cambodia.
a Cambodia where landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war no longer pose a risk to people and are no longer an obstacle to development.NPA now conducts survey and clearance operations of cluster munitions in Ratanakiri province, and in a further seven eastern provinces in partnership with CMAC. Capacity development activities with the national authority continue, with the aim to enhance CMAA’s ability to coordinate, regulate and manage the mine action sector to achieve a mine-free Cambodia by 2025.
NPA's development and innovation activities explore mine detection dog training and deployment, and the use of new technologies to enhance the efficiency of our operations. The refinement of new methodologies, such as cluster munition remnants survey (CMRS), enable NPA to clear more land of its hidden hazards efficiently and effectively with the resources available.
Providing assurances to communities in affected areas that their land is no longer contaminated, and removing the risk and associated fear of using their land, is one of the most important impacts of NPA’s work in Cambodia.