Stories on how sappers defuse large unexploded bombs left over from the war and how the life goes on for wives having their sapper husbands killed while duty have touched the hearts of participants at an exchange programme held in Hanoi on March 31.

A programme, in response to the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action (April 4), highlighted the efforts to clean the land contaminated with unexploded ordnance (UXO) to enable residents to live peacefully.

Addressing the event, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan stressed that although the war ended for more than 37 years, its consequences is still scattering across the country.

More than 20 percent of the land has still been contaminated with bombs and mines and over 100,000 people, mostly children and breadwinners, have been killed or injured, he added.

Trillions of dong were spent on mine clearance, treatment of victims, and dealing with direct and indirect aftermaths of UXO, but there are a lot of work needed to do, the Government leader noted.

The State Steering Committee of the National Action Programme on Settling Consequences of Unexploded Ordnance (known as Steering Committee 504) has over the past three years completed a technology criteria to guide UXO clearance and mapped UXO in 49 provinces and cities nationwide.

To clear all the left UXO and help local people living in the contaminated areas resettle, it will take the country hundreds of years and cost billions of USD, Nhan reminded the participants.

He took the occasion to call for organisations and individuals in and outside the country to join hands to surmount the consequences of UXO.-VNA