“Vietnam is not alone in post – war landmines and uxo recovery”
According to the latest report, Vietnam is still home to over 6.1 mn ha of landmines and UXO contaminated land area, accounting for 18.71% of the whole country’s land area.
Over the past years, Vietnam has made efforts to clean up UXO contaminated areas across the country. In 2018, this work has earned outstanding results. Besides regular activities, such as disposal of landmines, mass dissemination and education, and UXO victim assistances, Vietnam has completed the survey and mapping of landmines and UXO pollution situation nationwide that was released in April 2018 while urging the establishment and operation of the Mine Action Partnership Group and finalizing the decree on the management of landmines and UXO consequences relief to submit to the Prime Minister for approval. Those are the positive results contributing to consolidating the confidence among foreign governments and international organizations in cooperation with the Vietnamese government in the long run to overcome the consequences of war - left landmines and UXO.
Landmines and UXO clearance has been performed nationwide, both on land and under water. According to the Program 504, all resources will be mainly poured into severely contaminated localities, such as the central provinces and localities on top priority for economic development and resettlement.
However, in the past, UXO clearance had encountered a number of difficulties. Firstly, resources for the work have still been limited, mainly from the Government. Secondly, the technical equipment and qualifications of the staff in charge of demining have still been inadequate. Thirdly, the research on technology and manufacturing of equipment for demining activities and the development of human resources have yet to meet the actual demands and the Program’s requirements. Therefore, alongside the Government’s efforts, Vietnam is in desperate need of supports from other countries and international organizations.
Over the years, thanks to the efforts of responsible agencies in donation mobilization, Vietnam has received valuable assistances in terms of finance, technical equipment and human resources from other countries’ governments and international donors totally worth hundreds of millions of USD. Vietnam always highly values and expects to further receive the cooperation and supports of the international community so that the country would never be alone in the process of cleaning up war - left landmines and UXO.
Regarding international cooperation results, the U.S. government has transferred demining equipment to the Vietnam’s engineer force worth about $10 mn, while the Japanese government has sponsored a number of tree cutting and demining equipment for the construction of the Ho Chi Minh road worth nearly $11 mn. From 2004 to 2009, the U.S. State Department had funded the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF) in collaboration with the Technology Center for Bomb and Mine Disposal under Engineer Corps Command to carry out the project on surveying and evaluating the impacts of war - left landmines and UXO in six central provinces of Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue, and Quang Ngai.
In 2010, the governments of Norway and U.S., via the Norwegian People’s Aid, funded the initial construction of the Vietnam National Mine Action Data Center worth nearly half a million USD. In addition, the governments of the UK, Belgium and India have received a number of Vietnamese officials for training courses on capacity building in mine action management and administration.
In 2013, the U.S. government and the Steering Committee 701 signed a MOU on support for leftover landmines and UXO recovery in Vietnam. The governments of the UK, Norway, Switzerland and Germany have been mulling over assistances for the Program 504.
Since 2004, UNICEF has offered Vietnam $5 mn aid within five years to raise bomb and mine awareness among youngsters in the localities of Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien - Hue and Da Nang.
In 2018, the RoK’s government, via the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), has rendered $20 mn non-refundable aid to Vietnam for the implementation of the mine action project in Quang Binh and Binh Dinh provinces.
Since 1990 until now, there have been nearly 40 foreign non - governmental organizations providing humanitarian assistances for post - war landmines and UXO recovery in Vietnam, including surveying, mapping of UXO contamination situation, disposing of landmines and UXO, helping UXO victims re - integrate into the community reintegration and resettle their lives, and performing mine risk dissemination and education totally worth up to hundreds of millions of USD.
Based on the Program 504 approved by the Government on April 21st 2010, and under the administration of the National Steering Committee for Overcoming the Consequences of Chemical and Explosive Remnants of War (Steering Committee 701 in short), so far, the UXO contaminated land area has been narrowed down, while the number of deaths and injuries caused by landmines and UXO have gradually been decreased. Especially, in an UXO heavily contaminated locality like Quang Tri province, in 2017, there was no victim reported dead of landmines and UXO, which is the result of the efforts of the entire political system, with the highest determination, also the demonstration of the effective assistances from foreign countries’ governments and international organizations in helping Vietnam accelerate and then, totally overcome the aftermaths of post - war landmines and UXO.
In the coming time, under the close attention and instruction of the government and the army, the involvement of ministries, agencies and localities, along with the people’s support and cost - effective assistances from other countries’ governments and international orgnizations, we believe that the future when the land and people of Vietnam are no longer exposed to war leftover landmines and UXO would not be so far away.