On 1st April 2014, the Japanese government has kindly and graciously made a grant support of USD 473,055.96 to the Thai Civilian Deminer Association (TDA) for operation of the landmine clearance project namely “Implementation and Dissemination of the Experience of Minefield Releasing at Border Area with Cambodia in Surin Province, Thailand (MRCT)”. The project is operated under the suggestion and guidance of the Department of International Organization, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Royal Thai government, and the Thailand Mine Action Centre (TMAC).
The clearance of landmines shall always provide safe area to under-privileged and innocent local people to make a free and safe travel into forest to collect wind products for their daily living lives such as vegetable, mushroom, herbal plants, fuel wood, thatch grass for roof covering, and so on. Our normal lives in Bangkok rely on stuffs in supermarket; the same is true for local people out there who mainly rely on forest just as their super market.
On top of that, the clearance site of MRCT project covers particular area (Chong Prik) where local people from both countries are trading their products, and where local Thai government namely Jarat Pattana Sub-district Administration Organization (Or-Bor-Tor) has made a plan to established “Temporary Border Trading Area”. The increase of trading value as a result of the removal of landmines by MRCT project, shall promote the better living and prosperity of local people in both Thailand and Cambodia, both of which, in any case, shall enter AEC together in coming 2015.
TDA, on behalf of Thai people especially under-privileged and innocent local people in border area of Surin province Thailand, would like to take this opportunity to express sincere thanks and high gratitude to the government of JAPAN for this graciously financial support which has made it possible for MRCT landmine clearance project. Special thanks are also for all Japanese people whose tax money is contributing this grant.
As for the MRCT in summary, it is a landmine clearance project targeting 2,420,000 sq. m. of land in Surin province, Thailand. The project will deploy the Land Release Process (LR) which is recognized and proven by many mine action authorities such as Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC) and Thailand Mine Action Centre (TMAC), and international mine action body such as Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), as a more efficient and effective method than the Mine Clearance method previously used. The LR process consists of 3 steps. In the first step, project staffs conduct non-technical survey where they gather sufficient information on the minefield to identify part(s) of the minefield that have no evidence of the presence of mines. The identified land shall be deducted from the total minefield called cancellation. The second step, known as technical survey, project staff further investigate the remaining land not cancelled from step one by using equipment such as metal detectors. Land confidentially proven not to have mines shall be deducted. The deduction of land in this step is called releasing. In the third and final step, is the full clearance on remaining land. Project staff clear every inch of land using metal detectors and other relevant resources. Safe areas returned from the project - through cancellation, releasing and full clearance - will allow local people to freely enter the forest and areas without risk of landmine accidents, and be used for local development projects such as temporary border trading areas.
Best practices and lessons learned from the implementation of the project will be summarized in a report to be disseminated to ASEAN countries for regional application. MRCT project will further arrange meetings for local NGOs in this field to share and learn know-how which can be passed on to other ASEAN countries.
The MRCT will be implemented by the local NGO namely Thai Civilian Deminer Association (TDA) which has many experienced staffs; some of them involving in mine actions in Thailand more than 11 years, since the beginning of Thailand’s ratification of Mine Ban Treaty. TDA shall deploy approximately 19 experienced staff members during the project's operating period of 18 months starting from 1st April 2014
News by Mr. Amornchai Sirisai