A workshop and demonstration of advanced mine clearance equipment and technologies opened in Hanoi on Nov. 24 with the participation of representatives from ministries and agencies, along with international and non-governmental organisations.

Addressing the event, Major Gen. Pham Quang Xuan, Commander of the Sappers, stressed the urgency to clear unexploded ordnances (UXO) left by the war.

Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of UXO are scattered over all 63 provinces and cities nationwide, said Xuan, who is also Deputy Head of the State Steering Committee on National Action Programme on settling consequences caused by UXO (or Steering Board 504).

During the two-day event, participants will hear about the current situation regarding mines, bombs and UXO and challenges in clearing them in Vietnam , and discuss advanced technological solutions relevant to local circumstances.

Foreign organisations and producers will introduce and showcase their advanced mine clearance equipment and technologies and treatment methods for UXO after detection.

The Prime Minister on April 21, 2010 approved a national action programme on settling the consequences caused by UXO for the 2010-2025 period. The programme aims to utilise domestic and foreign resources to eliminate mines and bombs to serve socio-economic development, ensure safety for citizens and help victims of mines and bombs integrate into society.

Currently mines and UXO remain in all provinces and cities across Vietnam with a total contaminated area of up to 6.6 million hectares, accounting for 20.12 percent of country’s total area. The country estimates that funds of around 10 billion USD will be needed to clear all the UXO.

The event is being jointly held by Steering Board 504, Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF) and Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD)./.