Meet 39-year-old mother who clears south Lebanon of deadly mines
Warrant Officer Bun Channa of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) has been in south Lebanon for little more than a month.
But the 39-year-old mother of three has already started performing the arduous and deadly work of detecting and safely destroying anti-personnel mines in south Lebanon.
Last week, UNIFIL media team met her at a demining site near the westerly end of the Blue Line near the village of Labbouneh.
With a beaming smile hidden behind a facemask, WO Channa said she is happy to be able to serve humanity by clearing contaminated lands of mines.
“At my work, I need to be very careful as a deminer,” she said in her native Khmer language, through a translator.
She added: “I feel very happy in this job as a deminer because it’s humanitarian work. It’s good to be serving my own country as well as Lebanon.”
WO Channa is one of 30 women serving with UNIFIL’s 180-member Cambodian contingent, which together with a Chinese Multi-Role Engineering Unit undertakes the demining work within UNIFIL’s 1,060 square kilometre area of operations in south Lebanon.
She left her three children behind with her mother to come to Lebanon. She is grateful for their support.
“My family just supports and motivates me, but they ask me to be extra careful while performing operational tasks,” said WO Channa.
UNIFIL is her second UN peace operation during her 11 years in the RCAF. Previously, WO Channa served in the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), from 2018 to 2019.
Chief Warrant Officer Mom Rath of the Cambodian Contingent said that the area is infested with anti-personnel mines, and his contingent is currently focused on clearing a stretch of 2,869 square metre area of land. Since starting the demining work in the area in October 2020, they have found and destroyed 488 mines.
In 2020 alone, UNIFIL’s Chinese and Cambodian deminers cleared 14,541 square metres of land and discovered and destroyed 1,348 anti-personnel mines.