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06:05

Cambodia: Officers remind US of 'moral obligations' as Trump cuts bomb removal aid

Cambodia, Svay Rieng province
November 14, 2017 at 02:04 GMT +00:00 · Published

Cambodians reacted with fury after the US announced they would stop their bomb-clearance aid to Cambodia starting from January.

The news prompted negative reaction from those whose health has been affected due to use of chemical weapons in the Svay Rieng province.

The information was revealed by the Cambodian Mine Action Centre on Sunday, without specifying the reasons behind the decision. The US embassy also declined to issue a statement on the matter, according to reports.

Director General of Cambodian Mine Action Clearance, Heng Ratana, said, "They have moral obligations. They dropped a lot of bombs on Cambodian people. They killed a lot of Cambodian people and destroyed many Cambodian villages, houses, schools or facilities in Cambodia so they must have moral obligations."

Data published in 2000 shows that the US dropped approximately two million bombs on Cambodia from 1963 to 1975, fighting Viet Cong troops. In the years following the intervention, the US reportedly spent more than $131 million on disposing explosive leftovers throughout the country.

06:05
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Cambodians reacted with fury after the US announced they would stop their bomb-clearance aid to Cambodia starting from January.

The news prompted negative reaction from those whose health has been affected due to use of chemical weapons in the Svay Rieng province.

The information was revealed by the Cambodian Mine Action Centre on Sunday, without specifying the reasons behind the decision. The US embassy also declined to issue a statement on the matter, according to reports.

Director General of Cambodian Mine Action Clearance, Heng Ratana, said, "They have moral obligations. They dropped a lot of bombs on Cambodian people. They killed a lot of Cambodian people and destroyed many Cambodian villages, houses, schools or facilities in Cambodia so they must have moral obligations."

Data published in 2000 shows that the US dropped approximately two million bombs on Cambodia from 1963 to 1975, fighting Viet Cong troops. In the years following the intervention, the US reportedly spent more than $131 million on disposing explosive leftovers throughout the country.

M/S Child Sum Rany and her grandmother Sors Sopheak

C/U Rany

M/S Sopheak holding Rany

M/S Sopheak holding granddaughter

SOT, Sors Sopheak, Grandmother of Sum Rany (Khmer): "In the beginning, I believed that she just was born this way, until CMAC [The Cambodian Mine Action Centre] came here and found those chemical bombs. We didn't know. We thought she was just born with that condition. As we know now, it was from those chemical bombs. In the past, we only drank water from those small ponds. We don't have water from a well to drink. We don't have a well. We just drank water from the small puddles, which were formed from cows or water buffalo footprints as well as in the forest."

M/S Sopheak and Rany

SOT, Heng Ratana, Director General of Cambodian Mine Action Clearance (English): "I think the United State is remaining an important partner, because I think that they have a good will obligation. They have [a] moral obligation where they dropped a lot of bombs on Cambodian people. They killed a lot of Cambodian people and destroyed many Cambodian villages, houses, schools or facilities in Cambodia so they must have a moral obligation, and I believe that the US remains an important key player, because they own the original weapons - that includes chemical weapons, bombs. You know, they dropped bombs on Cambodia more than 2.8 million tonnes over the 12-year period, so they have a role to play - from a moral obligation, legal obligation - they have a role to play."

M/S Outside Koki village, Koki commune, Romeas Hek district, Svay Rieng province, where one US chemical bomb was found

M/S Researchers

C/U Warning sign

M/S Outside Koki village

SOT, Heng Ratana, Director General of Cambodian Mine Action Clearance (English): "We believe this will have a long-term health affects [on] Cambodian people."

W/S Primary school in Koki village where two US chemical bombs were found

W/S Primary school in Koki village

C/U Tape reading (English): "Not allowed area"

W/S Primary school in Koki village

W/S Cordoned off area

SOT, Heng Ratana, Director General of Cambodian Mine Action Clearance (English): "They have just decided to cut aid to CMAC. I have no words to say. But you know, this is a very disappointing decision. I believe that it is not a wise decision, so the government of Cambodia, the prime minister of Cambodia has already decided to replace the US funding, but I believe that the US need to play this important role."

W/S Prey Ta Thoeung village, Koki Som commune, Svay Teap district, Svay Rieng province

W/S Prey Ta Thoeung village

W/S Prey Ta Thoeung village

SOT, Em Chhoun, Village chief (Khmer): "During the first phase that the US dropped bombs, people in this village were evacuated. They were moved to the empty land in the south. The second time they dropped small bombs, the blue and white plastic covered bombs which burn all the bamboos - that was the second phase. During the third phase, when all of the people fled, they dropped bigger bombs, such as B-52. There are still some craters all over this village from the west to the south. I don't know how many B-52 bombs were dropped. Maybe around 20 to 30 in this area."

C/U Village chief Em Chhoun

SOT, Em Chhoun, Village chief (Khmer): "After dropping all these bombs, some children had arms or legs' disabilities, some became mute while others blind. "

W/S Father Lek Sareoun and child Hem Vichheka

C/U Vichheka

M/S Vichheka

SOT, Lek Sareoun, Father of Hem Vichheka (Khmer): "Before I did not really get mad [with the US] until the US embassy announced that it was because of the tear gas. Then I got mad. If the the US embassy wasn't explaining it like that, I would not be this mad. It is like they are not responsible for dropping bombs on Cambodia, for the suffering of the Cambodian people. They are not held responsible."

W/S Vichheka

W/S Kampot Tuk village, Koki Som commune, Svay Teap district, Svay Rieng province

W/S Kampot Tuk village

W/S Boy carrying child

M/S Paris

SOT, I.J. Paris, Mother of Dauk Paris (Khmer): "In the beginning, we didn't really know what the reason was until the present time when we had scientists who conducted research and found that it was because of the US chemicals that our parents had exposed to, like they were exposed to the influence of the chemical powders. It later passed to their children and to their grandchildren. It is what we see clearly. Even the skull was not fully developed and the arm didn't fully develop."

M/S Dauk Paris

M/S Paris

SOT, I.J. Paris, Mother of Dauk Paris (Khmer): "When we were tired and blamed her, she couldn't take it. She is fast to get angry and she would become inpatient. She cried, but after a while she stopped. In regards to her legs - if she walks and rides a bicycle too much, they become sore and numb. She frequently has headache. She is different from my other four children. My four children are rarely sick. She is very different. She would get mad if we blame here or mock her. She couldn't accept it. We need to speak softly with her. With all of her younger siblings, we can blame or scold them, they are just fine."

M/S Paris

W/S Family

M/S Rany

M/S Children

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