Officials cut the ribbon to inaugurate the VNMAC headquarters (Photo: nld.com.vn)

Hanoi (VNA) – The headquarters of the Vietnam National Mine Action Centre (VNMAC) was inaugurated in Thach That district of Hanoi on October 20.

Covering 52,400 square metres in Thach Hoa commune, the headquarters was built at a cost of more than 415 billion VND (18.6 million USD). It includes many facilities such as a commanding office, an exhibition hall of post-war bomb and mine consequences, and accommodation for specialists.

In March 2014, the Prime Minister decided to set up the VNMAC amid the urgent demand for addressing unexploded ordnance (UXO) impacts, according to Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich, who is also the standing deputy head of the State Steering Committee for the national action programme on settling post-war bomb and mine consequences (Programme 504).

The centre has worked closely with relevant ministries and localities, domestic and international organisations, and foreign embassies to perform its tasks. It has also coordinated with other agencies in designing and proposing UXO impact settlement policies and plans, he said at the inaugural ceremony.

He asked the VNMAC to boost international cooperation to call for foreign support, aside from domestic resources, for Programme 504. It should also build a training programme on UXO detection and clearance while stepping up education about UXOs, especially for children in contaminated areas, so as to help Vietnam be free of UXOs and related accidents in the near future.

According to the State Steering Committee for Programme 504, about 800,000 tonnes of UXOs are scattered across 6.6 million hectares or 20.12 percent of Vietnam’s land, mainly in the central region.

The US army used more than 15 million tonnes of bombs and mines during the war in Vietnam, four times the amount used in World War II. As a result, Vietnam has been listed among the countries most contaminated with UXOs.-VNA