Bomb and mine clearance (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – The Prime Minister has decided to establish a National Steering Committee on the Settlement of Post-war Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) and Toxic Chemical Consequences.

The committee is formed on the foundation of the State Steering Committee on the National Action Programme on the Settlement of Toxic Chemical Consequences.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc is the committee’s head, while deputy heads are Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha, Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung and Minister and Head of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung.

Its members include the deputy ministers of Defence; Natural Resources and Environment; Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs; Science and Technology; Foreign Affairs; Health; Public Security; Planning and Investment; Finance; Information and Communications; and Justice; and a leader of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Associations.

The committee’s task is to study and submit to the PM measures to tackle important and inter-sectoral issues related to the settlement of bomb and mine and toxic chemical consequences, as well as measures to attract domestic and foreign aids supporting this work.

The committee also helps build five-year and annual plans to implement the national action programme, while coordinating the work between ministries, ministry-level offices, and local People’s Committees.

The committee’s standing office is located at the Ministry of Defence.

Between 1945 and 1975, more than 15 million tonnes of bombs and mines, four times the amount used in World War II, were dumped on Vietnam. As a result, about 800,000 tonnes of unexploded ordnances (UXOs) are scattered across over 20 percent of land nationwide, mainly in the central region. More than 100,000 people have become victims of UXOs.

Meanwhile, from 1961 to 1971, US troops sprayed more than 80 million litres of herbicides - 44 million litres of which were AO, containing nearly 370kg of dioxin - on southern Vietnam.  

As a result, about 4.8 million Vietnamese were exposed to the toxic chemical. Many of the victims have died, while millions of their descendants are living with deformities and diseases as a direct result of the AO/dioxin effects. -VNA