Unexploded Ordnances, also known as UXOs, are found throughout Cambodia daily. They can resurface near villages, roads, or schools. When this happens, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team is called in to disarm and dispose of the device.
Picture left are UXOs unearthed on a minefield in the Kampong Thom Province of Cambodia. UXOs just like these are typically what cause severe or fatal injuries because, unlike land mines, many people believe that they can disarm without the help of an EOD expert.
The Cambodian Self Help Demining Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team is comprised of 6 highly skilled individuals who have undergone extensive training and testing. The work closely with the Mine Action Planning Unit (MAPU) in Cambodia, local police, village chiefs, and village communes.
How does it work?
When a landmine or ordnance is found, the CSHD EOD Team receives a phone call either directly from those who found it, or from the local authorities. The team will then plan when to go out to check the area. The team receives many calls from different areas during the day, and they plan ahead of time where to go. Once out, the team determines if the reported item is safe to move. If it is safe to move, it is relocated to a safe area and destroyed; if it is not safe to move, it is destroyed in place. The team will typically conduct Mine Relief Education (MRE) after the item is destroyed and will leave the direct contact phone number to the village.
What is Mine Relief Education?
CSHD strongly supports educating villages in the proper protocol after the discovery of landmines or ordnance. Mine Relief Eduction (MRE) can take place anywhere, from rice fields with a few villagers and children, to schools or villages with hundreds in attendance. MRE usually takes about an hour and a half. During that course, the MRE, EOD, or CSHD Teams who are teaching the course will explain who they are, what they do, and why MRE is important. After this, the teams will show a war video and then a powerpoint on landmines and ordinance. Using these tools, everyone in attendance will see the dangers of these items and learn how to avoid them, what to do if one is found, and about the Cambodian law that prohibits activity with these items (production, distribution, transfer, etc.).
After the class is conducted, the team holds a question and answer session and provides all those in attendance with stickers, notebooks (pictured right), and t-shirts with the images of landmines and ordnance so that they are better able to identify the items in the future.
EOD Team 1 is funded by Good Hands and Landmine Relief Fund. This team works with the de-mining team in clearing minefields.
EOD Team 2 was our first mobile team, meaning that they respond to calls around the country to remove UXOs and Landmines that are not in previously report minefields. Their operations are funded by Landmine Relief Fund
EOD Team 3 is also a mobile team, and they are funded by World Without Mines.
EOD Team 4 has dual responsibilities, they have duties within the office, but are also capable of responding to any calls of UXOs or Landmines if needed as they are all certified to remove them!