Quang Tri ceremony marks Int’l Mine Awareness Day

(VOVWORLD) - A ceremony was held in Dong Ha city, Quang Tri province, on Thursday to mark the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. 
Quang Tri ceremony marks Int’l Mine Awareness Day - ảnh 1A bicycle parade takes place as part of the ceremony in Dong Ha city on April 4 to mark the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action (Photo: VNA) 

The event, organised by the Vietnam National Mine Action Centre and the provincial People’s Committee, attracted the participation of more than 1,000 people. Major General Phung Ngoc Son, Commander of the Corps of Engineers and General Director of the National Mine Action Center, said: “Ministries, sectors and localities need to strengthen communications and education on risks of UXO to help mine awareness and demining efforts. We need to consider overcoming bomb, mine and UXO consequences in local socio-economic development plans. We need to boost international cooperation and rally more sponsorship to attract more resources from foreign countries and organizations. We should also focus on providing health care and support for victims of bombs and mines to help them stabilize their lives and reintegrate into the community. “

At the ceremony, organisers presented 30 gift packs to disadvantaged unexploded ordnance (UXO) victims to support their livelihood. A bicycle parade also took place to spread messages aiming to raise the public’s mine awareness.

Earlier, a number of activities had been held in response to International Mine Awareness Day (April 4) in Quang Tri, including UXO-related presentations at local schools, an exhibition on the impact of UXOs, and a UXO clearance drill.

Vietnam is one of the countries most contaminated with UXOs. There are about 800,000 tonnes of UXOs left from wartime in the country. The area of land contaminated or suspected to be contaminated with UXOs totals some 6.13 million ha, accounting for 18.71 percent of the country’s total area. UXO scatters across all the 63 provinces and centrally-run cities, but most of those bombs and landmines are concentrated in the central region.

Since 1975 – when the war against the US completely ended, UXO explosions have killed more than 40,000 people and injured 60,000 others, most of whom were breadwinners and children.

Over the past years, Vietnam has seen considerable advances in the support for UXO victims, including providing orthopaedic surgeries and rehabilitation for the victims, assisting the victims with their livelihoods, vocational training and employment assistance, and ensuring that they benefit from social welfare programs.
Quang Tri is one of the most UXO-polluted localities in Vietnam as it was the fiercest battlefield during the war. A survey in 2017 by the Ministry of National Defence shows that nearly 82 percent of the province’s area is contaminated with UXOs. Nearly 8,540 local residents have become UXO victims since 1975.
To address UXO consequences, the province has received international assistance in the work since 1996, clearing 9,174ha of land and deactivating over 538,000 bombs, mines and other explosives. More than 161,000 primary and high school students have also received UXO education. As a result, 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. It is aiming to become the first locality in Vietnam to be free of the post-war impacts of UXOs  in 2025.