Quang Tri successfully handles nearly 300 explosive devices hinh anh 1Some explosive devices found at the cassava field in Xy commune (Photo: nguoiduatin.vn)

Quang Tri (VNA) – Nearly 300 explosive devices were successfully defused in Xy commune, Huong Hoa mountainous district, the central province of Quang Tri on September 25.

Right after receiving information from local residents, the province’s mobile unexploded ordnance (UXO) clearance team under Peace Trees Vietnam, in collaboration with the provincial border guard’s Thanh border station and the communal People’s Committee, conducted inspections at the cassava field.

The team found 75 Blu-24 bomblets and 220 warheads of various kinds. As most of the bomblets remained intact, posing a high risk of explosion, they were defused at the site. Meanwhile, the authorities safely moved the warheads to a warehouse for explosive materials.

A survey in 2017 by the Ministry of National Defence showed that nearly 82 percent of the area of Quang Tri, a fierce battlefield during the war, was contaminated with UXOs. Nearly 8,540 local residents have been killed or injured by UXOs since 1975.

In Huong Hoa – a heavily UXO-polluted district, more than 1,150 people have been killed or injured in UXO accidents since 1975 – when the war ended.

In 1995, Peace Trees Vietnam was the first international non-governmental organisation coming to the province to help address post-war consequences through UXO clearance, and support for UXO victims.

Since February 2019, Quang Tri has carried out a cooperation programme with RENEW (Restoring the Environment and Neutralising the Effects of the War) and the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) organisation to expand the area subject to UXO clearance.

Huong Hoa is also the last district of Quang Tri to benefit from the RENEW-NPA project, which has not only helped deal with UXOs but also promoted farming activities, especially the cultivation of coffee trees – a key plant for economic development in the district.

Since 1996, Quang Tri has mobilised millions of USD from foreign organisations to address addressing UXO consequences.

Notably, a project worth nearly 95,000 USD has been implemented since March this year by the US’s Golden West Humanitarian Foundation to provide technical support and build capacity for the province in post-war UXO clearance.

Additionally, the UK’s Mines Advisory Group has also pledged to add nearly 2.5 million USD to the sixth phase of a UXO clearance project from now to 2021 in Quang Tri.

Such projects have also organised UXO education, benefiting more than 160,000 primary and secondary school students in the province so far.

This is also an important solution to help the province become the first locality in Vietnam to be free of post-war UXO impact in 2025.

Thanks to local efforts and assistance from foreign organisaitons, UXO accidents in Quang Tri have reduced, bringing down the annual number of victims from about 70 between 2001 and 2005 to two in 2017. Notably, the province did not record any UXO victims in 2018./.