About ‘Dark Water: Cambodia’s UXO Divers’
Cambodia’s UXO Savage Divers follows the training and work of a team of de-miners supported by Golden West Humanitarian Foundation who have been tasked to dive in the black waters of Cambodia’s rivers for Unexploded Ordinance ( UXO ) left over from years of conflict and civil war.
It has been over 30 years since the end of the Khmer Rouge regime, which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 2 million people. Cambodia and its people still suffer from the legacy of that dark time in a variety of ways, including the deadly and hidden threat of abandoned land mines, which still kill or injure more than 100 people every year.
Since the early 1990s, the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) has been training de-miners and has been responsible for clearing vast areas of Cambodia from the threat of land mines. The huge task has now taken a new direction for CMAC. The group, working in conjunction with the Golden West Humanitarian Foundation, has selected a 9-person strong group of de-miners from 40 hopeful volunteers to become Cambodia’s first elite salvage diving unit.
The selected 9 divers are being trained not only to dive and recover, but are also learning how to do so completely blind in depths of up to 30 meters and against the strong currents of the Mekong and TonleÌ Sap rivers. These are hostile conditions, requiring both physical and mental strength and dexterity.
The series has run in The Sunday Times Magazine, The Huffington Post, and The BBC amongst other publications.
Dark Water: Cambodia’s UXO Divers
10 July – September 2015
The Brunei Gallery
SOAS, University of London,