In a recent interview with the Vietnam News Agency, Nguyen Trieu Thuong, deputy head of the Quang Tri steering committee for the settlement of war-left unexploded ordnance (UXO) consequences, said that over the last 25 years, via international and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the US Government has helped the province carry out programmes and projects addressing UXO and assisting victims.
The US has provided Quang Tri with over US$40 million to date, accounting for almost 50 percent of the financial aid the province has received from international sponsors to tackle UXO.
In 1995, PeaceTrees Vietnam became the first NGO from the US licenced to operate in UXO search and clearance in Vietnam, beginning an array of international cooperation activities in the field funded by the US, via such NGOs as the Mines Advisory Group, Clear Path International, and Norwegian People’s Aid, Thuong said.
She noted that these organisations assisted Quang Tri to detect and detonate 720,000 bombs, mines, and other explosives, clearing UXO on nearly 187 million square metres of land.
US support has also greatly helped with training international-standard technicians and applying modern technologies to UXO search and clearance, she said, describing this as an important resource for the province to proactively handle UXO-related issues in an effective and sustainable manner.
She held that for a province facing numerous difficulties like Quang Tri, the US assistance is substantial, and its cooperation with the US as well as international organisations is not only a vivid and typical demonstration of an effective and sustainable approach to war-left UXO settlement in Vietnam but also, as many international experts said, a model for the region and the world to follow.
Quang Tri was the first locality in Vietnam to build an action programme for addressing UXO, for the 2016-2025 period, and was also the first to set up a steering committee to handle UXO.
However, she noted, despite certain achievements, a number of difficulties and challenges remain. More than 80 percent of the province’s area is still contaminated by bombs, mines and other types of explosives, posing latent risks to local lives and socio-economic development.
To become the first locality in Vietnam to be free of UXO accidents by 2025, Quang Tri is adopting many intensive solutions, including promoting cooperation with international partners to seek funding for UXO programmes and projects in the years to come.
In particular, the province is bolstering ties with the US and hopes to receive more support from the US Government in this task so that it can address UXO effectively and sustainably by itself in the near future, Thuong added.