Project launched to clear unexploded ordnances in Ha Tinh hinh anh 1Sappers detect UXOs (Photo: VNA)

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs launched a project to clear landmines and unexploded ordnances (UXO) in Can Loc district of central Ha Tinh province on July 31.

The project will clear 2,550 hectares of land contaminated with landmines and UXOs in 12 communes of Ha Tinh’s Ky Anh, Huong Son and Can Loc districts.

Funded with 83 billion VND (3.8 million USD) from the Japanese government’s non-refundable assistance, the project will be carried out through 2017. It also aims to foster socio-economic and infrastructure development in localities with landmines and UXOs left over from wartime.

Up to 38.8 percent of Ha Tinh’s area and all of its 261 communes are contaminated with landmines and UXOs. In Can Loc district alone, 16,386 hectares of land remain polluted with explosive materials.

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.

The US army used more than 15 million tonnes of bombs and mines in 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.

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.

Meanwhile, the Technology Centre for Bomb and Mine Disposal under the Engineering Command reported that more than 88 percent of the communes, 7,645 out of 8,686, in Vietnam are polluted with UXOs.-VNA