CGD Removes its 30,000th item of Ordnance from Palau

On Thursday 27th February, in Airai State, the Cleared Ground Demining Team located and removed its 30,000th item of explosive ordnance from the rear of a household in Airai State near a local Bai and the International Airport.

The item was a 108lb High Explosive Japanese Sea Mine that had been laid 70 years ago on the fringes of a mangrove swamp adjacent to two households and a boat dock.

A small celebration took place at the Airai Bai, which was attended by 5th graders from Airai Elementary School, Marcelino Augustine representing Airai State Government and members of the Legislature, as well Iwong Beches whose father was killed by ERW when she was a child.  

Of the 30,000 items located over its 4.5 years of operations in Palau 19,206 are of Japanese origin, 10,792 are of USA origin and 2 are of German WWI origin. The German television network ARD covered the removal of this sea mine whilst accompanying the CGD team as part of a documentary on Palau.

Cleared Ground Demining was first invited to Palau to rid the land and ocean of Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) in late 2007, immediately after Palau signed the Ottawa Treaty which bans anti-personnel landmines.

Cleared Ground visited and then found funding to set up full scale ERW clearance operations on 15th September 2009.  CGD believes in building sustainable national skills and has recruited and trained 25 Palauan nationals, including 1/3 women, who form three clearance teams that remove ERW across the whole of Palau both from the land and in the ocean.

Some 30% of its removal activities are from underwater, utilizing its 11 strong Palauan dive team, and many reports come from the public itself through the Bombline 778 BOMB (2662). Items that the team have removed include 20 Depth charges, 1,331 hand grenades, 97 mines, 362 aircraft bombs, 2,145 mortars and thousands of other items of ERW.

In CGD's first year in Palau they removed 8,526 items of ERW, primarily from residential, historical, tourist and underwater locations, enhancing the human security of the population and visitors alike.

In addition to the actual removal activities CGD conducts surveys across Babeldaob States so Palau can better understand the extent of its contamination problem, as well ERW risk awareness sessions at every school in Palau and in communities nationwide.

CGD has worked across the globe developing the capacity of countries to become ERW free with support from International Governments. Prior to operating in Palau CGD has worked in Jordan, Cambodia, Guinea Bissau, Senegal, Albania and Laos, focusing on assisting countries and regions with 'forgotten conflicts.

' Currently CGD's three International EOD Technicians working in Palau have 81 years experience between them, and have also removed ordnance in Solomons, RMI, Laos, Vietnam, Sudan, Iraq, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Germany, Belgium, France, and UK. CGD's activities in Palau are currently 100% funded by Australia, with  a small USA grant pending. CGD has also been funded in Palau by Germany, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

CGD Team, Airai State officials etc examine 30,000th item ARD Film Crew film 30,000th item.
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