PPCBank supports landmine clearance initiative in Cambodia
Phnom Penh, Cambodia, August 27, 2020 – PPCBank aids the humanitarian landmine clearance project of APOPO, a non-profit organization that clears Cambodian land, removing unexploded landmines and explosives.
Years of war left approximately 1,000 km2 of land surface in Cambodiawith indiscriminately planted landmines and explosives. This has resulted in over 40,000 mine amputees, and placed Cambodia as one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.
APOPO incorporates landmine clearance approaches with the use of African Giant Pouched Rats, also called ‘HeroRATs,’ to efficiently detect and clear mines. With its natural scavenging behavior and highly developed sense of smell, a single HeroRAT can clear up to 400m2 of land in a day. Human deminers would take up to 6 days to clear the same area.
Since 2015, APOPO has trained and deployed 43 HeroRATs in Cambodia to sniff out and pinpoint leftover landmines and explosives. The organization has already cleared 18,469,549m2 of land, collected 5,759 landmines, and 40,954 explosive remnants across the country.
“It’s mind-blowing to realize that there are still many people in Cambodia who have to give up their homes out of fear to step on a mine while walking, farming, or even going to school. We see it as a privilege to be able to help vulnerable Cambodians by supporting the brilliant work APOPO has been doing,” said PPCBank president, Mr. Shin Chang Moo.
In support of APOPO’s mission, PPCBank donated USD$6,000 to cover HeroRATs’ food, rat handler’s salary, small handling equipment, kennel materials, and costs related to the rats’ health and welfare.
Michael Heiman, APOPO Program manager said that “PPCBank’s donation enables us to clear land up to 24,000m2, the size of two football fields in Siem Reap province! We hope that this cleared land will give people hope to live their lives freely and to the fullest!”
Once the land is cleared from mines, the communities around it will be able to live proper and fear-free lives. The villagers in northern Siem Reap will confidently step on their lands with big smiles of hope on their faces.