The Vietnamese Party, State and Government always attach importance to overcoming the consequences of unexploded ordnance (UXO) left from wars.

Vice Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) Bui Hong Linh made the affirmation at a press talk in Hanoi on April 2 to mark the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action (April 4).

Linh, who is also deputy head of the Executive Office of the State Steering Committee on the National Action Programme on Settling Consequences of UXO in the 2010-2015 period (known as Programme 504), said that bomb and mine pollution has caused serious losses on humans and property, thus greatly affecting people’s life, socio-economic development, social safety and environment.

Participants at the talk suggested Vietnam early complete the surveying, assessment and location of bomb and mine polluted areas in the country as well as build national technical standards and set up a relevant database with a focus on settling seriously polluted areas, even at sea.

Relevant ministries and agencies should recommend the Government to build a national action plan on surmounting the bomb and mine consequences and mobilising resources to speed up the work and support victims, they said.

According to statistics, in 1975-2000 period, Vietnam had more than 42,000 deaths and 62,000 injured by unexploded bombs and mines. Most victims were breadwinners and children.

About 600,000 tonnes of unexploded bombs and mines remain over an area of 66,000 sq.m or 20 percent of the country’s total.

As an important milestone in Vietnam’s bomb and mine actions, Programme 504 has defined the demining scope, objectives, tasks, resources and measures as well as determining the responsibilities of ministries, agencies and localities in the work.

In 2012, the MOLISA’s Social Protection Department coordinated with relevant agencies in organising a range of activities to support the victims, including building pilot communal-level rehabilitation centres and organising seminars to boost partnership in demining.

Those activities are expected to continue in 2013, along with the supervision of pilot projects supporting the victims in localities, said the department.-VNA