Vietnam to push ahead with mine action: PM hinh anh 1Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and officials visit a photo exhibition on UXO settlement (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam will push ahead with the settlement of wartime unexploded ordnance (UXO) consequences and also expects continued assistance from international partners in this work, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh told a conference in Hanoi on February 17.

The meeting reviewed the national mine action programme, also called Programme 504, during 2010 - 2020 and set up orientations for 2021 - 2025.

Prior to the programme, 6.1 million ha of land in Vietnam was contaminated with UXO, 18.82 percent of the country’s total.

During 2010 - 2020, UXO detection and clearance were carried out on 485,000ha at a total cost of over 12.61 trillion VND (553.3 million USD), including more than 10.4 trillion VND from the domestic budget and nearly 2.2 trillion VND in foreign non-refundable aid. As a result, the UXO-contaminated land has been shrunk to 5.6 million ha, equivalent to 17.71 percent of the country’s area, according to the national steering committee for settling post-war UXO and toxic chemicals.

It noted the non-refundable official development assistance (ODA) projects funded by the governments of other countries, including the US, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, and Norway, and international organisations like MAG, NPA, Golden West, SODI, and Peace Tree, have also generated practical benefits for people and substantially contributed to social development in Vietnam.

Vietnam to push ahead with mine action: PM hinh anh 2PM Pham Minh Chinh speaks at the conference in Hanoi on February 17 (Photo: VNA)
Addressing the event, PM Chinh said the wartime UXO poses a daily threat to people and also a hindrence to socio-economic development, citing preliminary statistics as showing that since 1975, the deadly legacy of wars have killed more than 40,000 people and injured 60,000 others.

Given this, Vietnam has made active moves in settling war consequences, including UXO, over the past many years, he said, noting that Programme 504 is important to socio-economic development as well as the stabilisation of people’s life.

Over 5,000 UXO victims and other affected people have received assistance in health care, vocational training, and livelihoods. Besides, hundreds of thousands of people, especially those in the areas heavily polluted with UXO, have accessed methods for preventing UXO accidents. Notably, the number of UXO accidents has been reduced significantly, with many localities already free of such incidents for many years.

Vietnam will push ahead with mine action and remain a trustworthy partner, an active and responsible member of the international community, PM Chinh stated, calling on other governments, ambassadors, international organisations, and sponsors to continue their support to help Vietnam get rid of UXO impacts.

He also appealed for joint efforts to prevent wars and armed conflicts so that all peoples around the world will no longer suffer./.