History of Minelaying

Although there was limited minelaying between the late 1960s and mid 1970s, the first significant use of landmines did not occur in Cambodia until the 1979 – 1989 Vietnamese occupation.

In December 1978 Vietnam intervened and the Khmer Rouge retreated to, and fought to defend, base camps along the north-west border. Then, through a series of dry season offensives in 1984-1985, the Vietnamese military drove the Khmer Rouge (and 230,000 civilians) across the border into Thailand. To impede the return of the Khmer Rouge tens of thousands of local people were forcibly conscripted over 18 months into assisting in the construction of a barrier minefield along the entire 750 kilometer length of the Cambodia-Thai border.

This fifth in a series of defensive plans (Kar Korpier pram) has become known infamously as “the K5”. During the decade that culminated in the final collapse of the remaining Khmer Rouge leadership (Anlong Veaeng, December 1998) further landmines were laid by State of Cambodia forces to defend towns and villages, military positions and supply routes from attack by opposition forces. In the same period Khmer Rouge and Monarchist opposition forces used landmines to protect newly won ground or to contaminate the interior of abandoned Vietnamese defensive positions.

The Problem

Over 64,000 landmine and ERW casualties have been recorded in Cambodia since 1979, and with over 25,000 amputees, Cambodia has the highest ratio per capita in the world.

Despite a considerable reduction in casualty numbers over recent years, down from 875 in 2005 to 211 in 2011, Cambodia’s mine and ERW problem still represents a major impediment to the social and economic development of the country. However, given more than two decades of humanitarian demining, the landmine threat is now largely concentrated in just 21 north-west border districts.

In these rural districts the landmine problem continues to negatively affect much needed development by hindering access to:

· Land for agriculture and resettlement
· Infrastructure and basic social services
· Irrigation and safe drinking water
· Secondary and tertiary roads
· Land for cattle raising and foraging for forest products, as well as
· Placing financial and emotional hardship on families needing to care for a landmine survivor
· Causing psychological trauma for those forced to live alongside such a threat

Requirement for Continued Clearance

The results of Cambodia’s Baseline Survey are due to be published in early 2013. Findings to date have confirmed that there are many hundreds of km that require mineclearance in order that communities can live in safety.

As well as the continued requirement for accurate survey there is a requirement for more deminers in order to speed up clearance.

HALO Cambodia and the mine impacted communities we serve are grateful for current funding from the governments of Belgium, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, The Netherlands and The United States of America and the multi-donor Clearing For Results project implemented by the Cambodia Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA). Significant donations are also provided by private groups and foundations including Freedom Fields USA, Rotary International, the Gould Family Foundation and the Hurvis Charitable Foundation.

We would like to thank current donors for their ongoing support and encourage new donors to support HALO’s life saving work.

Program management - Senior staff

Adam Jasinski

Program Manager

Adam joined the HALO Trust in 2008 and worked in Mozambique, Afghanistan, Georgia, Sri Lanka and Myanmar before moving to Cambodia in 2013.

Leng Saren

HALO Cambodia Program Operations Manager

Leng has worked for HALO since 1992. After starting as an interpreter Leng worked his way up to the position of Location Manager before taking on the Operations Manager position in 1999. Having had primary responsibility for mineclearance operations for over a decade, Leng remains one of our most experienced senior managers. Masters in Commerce.

Colin Watson

Expatriate Operations Officer

Colin joined HALO in 2011 training in Mozambique, Afghanistan and Somaliland.  He moved on to the Angola program as a field officer and is currently Expatriate Operations Officer in Cambodia.  Prior to joining HALO he was involved in the agricultural and diving industries.  He has a degree in communications. 

Smann Makara

HALO Cambodia Survey & EOD Manager

Makara has worked for HALO since 1994. Makara began his HALO career as a deminer. After three years demining he was promoted to a Section Commander. Three years later, after a period as the program's Training Officer, he started as a Location Manager. Since 2001 Makara has controlled HALO's Banteay Meanchey provincial operations.

Camilla Thurlow

HALO Projects Officer

Camilla joined HALO in 2013. After completing familiarisation training in Sri Lanka, she joined the HALO Cambodia program as Projects Officer in July 2013. Camilla has a BSc Hons in Sport and Exercise Science.

Keo Dane

Support Manager

Dane joined HALO in 2003 as Siem Reap Office Manager. In 2003, he was promoted to Senior Finance Assistant and then to Finance Manager in April 2011. In November 2013 he was promoted to Support Manager. Prior to joining HALO, Dane worked with the EU project as a Human Resource Assistant for three years. Dane holds two bachelor degrees, one in Private Law and one in Finance and Accounting. 

Nhong Bona

GIS and Data Manager

Bona joined HALO in 2006 as a location Office Manager. In August 2008, Bona was promoted to Head of Survey & Data Management. Between 2009 and 2012, Bona managed 12 HALO Baseline Survey teams conducting survey across Cambodia to assist the Royal Government of Cambodia in an effort to quantify and define the true extent of the remaining landmine and Explosive Remnants of War contamination in Cambodia. He is currently Head of GIS and Data Management. He has a degree in General Management and a certificate of Database Management and Advanced MapInfo.