Thirty years of conflict have left a legacy of hundreds of thousands of landmines and Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) across Cambodia. Battambang Province, in the west of Cambodia, suffered more than most areas of the country due to the long-term presence of the Khmer Rouge units during the conflict. In a country where 85% of the population is dependent on agriculture or related activities, landmine and UXO contamination presents a major impediment to Cambodia’s economic growth
Communities continue to use suspected contaminated land out of economic need, which results in high casualty and victim rates. Reports show that in Battambang Province, 94% casualties knew of the potential danger in the area they had their accident, of these 86% entered the area due to economic need and access to farming land.
In 2003, Roots of Peace, in partnership with Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and the Lutheran World Federation to completed a Demine~Replant~Rebuild™ project in Battambang Province of Cambodia funded through a generous donation by Chevron. In the landmine removal phase, we worked with MAG to to demine village by village in the Battambang region. The project included the demining of the small villages, their schools and public buildings, and their rice fields. This included clearing 43,000 square meters and removing nearly 12,000 landmines and stray ammunition form these areas. Once the areas were cleared, MAG provided landmine risk education for the villagers.
Roots of Peace, in cooperation with the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), assisted 40 Cambodian families to rebuild their agricultural livelihood. We trained villagers in basic farming techniques and provided seeds and tools, pumps and micro loans to restart rice fields surrounding their villages. Rice and soy bean are now being cultivated on demined land in Srasteuk Thmei village, Takrey commune, Kamreang.
Roots of Peace remains extremely grateful to the Chevron corporation, based in San Ramon, California, as this international company has remained true to their roots by embodying their corporate slogan – “The Power of Human Energy” – by replacing minefields with rice fields.