Camodia's De-miner Divers
Over 30 years since the end of the Khmer Rouge regime which left over
2 Million Cambodians dead, Cambodia and its people still suffers from
the legacy of that time in the form of the deadly and hidden threat of
Landmines which still kill or injure more than a 100 people each year.
Since the early 1990’s Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) has
been training de-miners and has been responsible for clearing vast
areas of Cambodia from the threat of Landmines. The huge task has now
taken a new direction, for CMAC in Conjunction with the Golden West
Humanitarian Foundation has selected a 14 strong group of de-miners
from 40 hopeful volunteers to become Cambodia’s first elite salvage
During the early 1970’s ships carrying large stockpiles of explosive ordinance
to supply the Khmer Republic where sunk in the Mekong and
Tonlé Sap rivers by the Khmer Rouge. Now unsuspecting fishermen
often pull up UXO in their fishing nets, but also the lucrative trade in
scrap metal has meant that some have taken to retrieving the UXO and
by hand removing the explosives at much danger to themselves and their
communities. The Cambodian authorities have seized tons of such
illicitly recovered UXO.
The selected 14 are being trained not only to dive and recover but also
how to do so completely blind. In depths of up to 30 meters and in
strong currents the Mekong and Tonlé Sap rivers are hostile conditions,
requiring both physical and mental strength and dexterity.
The team are now in their second round of diver training, practicing dive
skills, black out training, and rigorous physical training to prepare them
for the challenges ahead. 35 images.
De-Miner Diver Project Receives Second Round of Funding
My long term project on the creation of a De-Miner Dive unit received further funding last week, which I will receive in installments over the next few months.
Charles Fox is a British born photographer currently living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, he has a degree in Photojournalism from the London College of Communications and is represented by Getty Global Assignments.