Assistance for Victims

More assistance for UXO victims

(21/12/19 09:36)

More assistance for UXO victims

On December 14, 2019, the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs in collaboration with The International Center (IC) and relevant agencies held a conference on enhancing partnership in supporting UXO victims in Hanoi.

Vietnam experiences most drastic consequences of post-war UXO

Vietnam is one of the countries most heavily contaminated by post-war UXO in the world. It is estimated that Vietnam is now contaminated with about 800,000 tons of UXO, scattering on more than 20% of the country’s area. Each year, on average, about 3,807 people are dead and injured by post-war UXO nationwide. The Figure when reduced now is still around 2,000. Since 1975, there have been more than 42,000 people dead and more than 62,000 people injured due to post-war UXO accidents. Most of the victims are children and breadwinners in their families. In some provinces in Central Vietnam alone, including Quang Binh, Binh Dinh, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien - Hue, and Quang Ngai, the figure shows that there have been 10,540 people dead and 12,260 injured.

With more than 6.1 million hectares of UXO-contaminated land, if each year 50,000 hectares can be detoxified, it still takes Vietnam 122 years to clear the whole UXO-contaminated area. UXO-contamination not only leaves impacts on people’s life, social psychology, and socio-economic development programs, but also drains resources and influences security and social safety.

According to Le Thi Kim Dung, Head of the International Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, UXO victim assistance is one of the important activities of the National Action Program on the Settlement of Post-war UXO Consequences (Program 504). The program aims to mobilize domestic and international resources to minimize the impacts and clear the whole war-left UXO, ensuring safety for the people and helping UXO victims integrate into the community. “However, the settlement of post-war UXO consequences requires huge human and material resources; therefore, we must mobilize the resources from both domestic and international organizations,” said Dung. 

UXO victim assistance

According to Dao Huu Minh, Head of the Social Work Office of the Department of Social Protection under the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, UXO victims in need of physical rehabilitation services and social assistance from the State and international community can join learning, working, and socio-economic activities. UXO victims need essential services like orthopedic surgery, physical rehabilitation, psychological consultancy and therapy, labor therapy, social work, language therapy, vocational training, job services and benefits from social welfare policies.

The Party and State have paid due attention to assisting UXO victims to integrate into the community. A good number of legal documents on UXO victim assistance combined with policies in support of UXO victims and social protection beneficiaries have been promulgated. Policies in assistance of UXO victims include: provision of monthly allowances and reception of extremely severely-affected by post-war UXO unable to be taken care of in the community or without care-takers to social protection establishments.

Minh said, “UXO victims are social protection beneficiaries with health insurance. When dead, they are supported with funeral costs. Those in the labor age are provided with jobs to stabilize their life and those who are learning at school or attending vocational training enjoy the service free of charge… However, this support only applies to severely-injured victims and in heavily-contaminated localities.

The Department of Social Protection has developed a draft Plan on Assisting UXO victims to integrate into the community as part of the support program for people with disabilities in the 2017-2020 period. In the immediate terms, the Department of Social Protection and Departments of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs of provinces heavily polluted with UXO will complete the issuance of light injury certificates for UXO victims so that they can enjoy public services such as bus ticket concession, sight-seeing ticket concession, medical check-up and treatment…”

Apart from that, localities have also developed a network of establishments for providing social work services and physical rehabilitation for UXO victims and coordinated with international organizations to build up care-taking and livelihood support models for people with disabilities and UXO victims in some provinces and cities. At present, there are 107 special education establishments and 2,500 secondary and high schools offering programs with community integration contents.

Nguyen Thu Ha – Vice Chief Representative of the International Center (IC) said, “The implementation of UXO victim assistance programs is an important step in the settlement of UXO consequences in general and in providing assistance for UXO victims in particular in Vietnam. This is the basis for sponsors and domestic and international organizations to plan their support for UXO victims in Vietnam in line with the goals of the programs.”

At the conference, participants discussed solutions aiming at promoting assistance for UXO victims and shared experience and plans in supporting UXO victims to integrate into the community and generating jobs for them to improving their living standards.

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