Overcoming post-war bomb and mine consequences:
When power of human spirit is stronger than bombs
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|EOD team members securing the M117 for being disposed at the central demolition site in Trieu Trach Commune, Trieu Phong District, Quang Tri Province. 4 June 2019. Photo: Hien Ngo/NPA-RENEW|
On June 3, the Norwegian People’s Aid – Project RENEW (RENEW-NPA) received an emergency call from the staff of the People's Committee of Gio Viet Commune, Gio Linh District, Quang Tri province, informing the discovery of big wartime ordnance on an empty area in Hoang Ha village. Project RENEW-NPA Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team promptly arrived and an air-dropped general purpose bomb weighing 340 kg, M117 series, that was extensively used by US military forces during the war in Vietnam. The bomb had been partly dismantled from the bottom of the cylinder and some explosives were scattered around. The EOD team quickly transported the bomb to the central demolition site in Trieu Phong District for safe disposal.
According to the Quang Tri Department of Planning and Investment, Quang Tri province has the highest rate of unexploded ordnance (UXO) contamination in the country. On average, each square meter of land in Quang Tri had about 60kg of landmine and UXOs.
After more than 20 years supported by foreign non-governmental organisations (NGOs), up to now, nearly 400 hectares of UXO-contaminated land in the locality have been cleaned up. The number of victims involved in UXOs accidents is decreasing, from 50 people/year to 10 people/year (after 10 years) and in the last two years, about 2-3 people/year. The province is striving to be the first locality of Vietnam free from such incidents and contamination by 2025.
Not only Project RENEW, many other foreign NGOs such as Golden West Humanitarian Foundation (GWHF), PeaceTrees Vietnam (PTVN), Mines Advisory Group (MAG), Norwegian People's Aid Vietnam (NPA), etc., have been clearing unexploded bombs in Quang Tri province in particular and many other areas of Vietnam in general. For 20 years (1995-2015), the province has received more than USD 80 million from US NGOs to address post-war consequences.
Not only do they minimize the impact of the deadly war legacy, they also greatly improve the lives of local people.
According to the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations (VUFO), over the past year, there have been 33 international NGOs providing humanitarian assistance activities related to the settlement of post-war consequences in Vietnam. The VUFO has also contributed positively as a member of several national-level committees on human rights, external information work, and the mine action programmes, etc./.