NSappers prepare to destroy an unexploded bomb in northern Son La province (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – A delegation from the US’s Salisbury University learned about wartime unexploded ordnance (UXO) and landmine-related issues in Vietnam in Hanoi on January 7.

The US delegation consisted of 12 students led by Assoc. Prof. and Dr. Bryan Kenji Horikami, who chairs the university’s Department of Communication Arts.

Chuck Searcy, an advisor for the project RENEW which deals with environmental rehabilitation and war consequences, gave a presentation in central Quang Tri province, addressing the post-war UXO and landmine issues in Vietnam, and current humanitarian activities.

He underlined the serious contamination of UXOs and explosive materials left from wartime in Vietnam, and the many thousands of deaths and injury cases caused by UXOs since the war ended four decades ago.

Project RENEW was launched in Quang Tri in 2001 with the aim to clear UXOs and landmines, and raise donations to support people with UXO-caused disabilities, by providing modern medical equipment to local hospitals. Another objective was to improve local children’s awareness of UXO and landmine risks, and train healthcare workers.

Chuck Searcy said it is one of the most successful models in settling war consequences since international organisations engaged in this activity in Vietnam in 1996.

According to the State Steering Committee for the national action programme on settling post-war bomb and landmine impacts, 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.

Preliminary statistics show that UXOs have claimed more than 42,000 lives and left about 62,000 injured - mostly rural people and children - in Vietnam over the last four decades.

On January 6, the Salisbury University delegation was welcomed by Vice Chairman of the Vietnam – US Friendship Association Bui The Giang.

Giang briefed the guests on Vietnam’s economic reforms, international integration and foreign policy, the relationship between the two countries, and the consequences and settlement of war legacy.

He also said he hopes the US people, especially the young generation, will contribute to the growth of the nations’ friendship and cooperation.

For his part, Horikami said his delegation’s visit aims to learn about Vietnam’s land and people, as well as its reform and international integration process. It also plans to do voluntary activities at the Vietnam Friendship Village in Hanoi, and Pom Coong village in Hoa Binh province.-VNA