|Members of all technical survey teams pose for a group photo in Tan Thanh commune, Huong Hoa district. Source: NPA Vietnam|
Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) in Vietnam announced on April 18th that it had successfully completed the Cluster Munition Remnant Survey (CMRS) of all accessible areas in the central province of Quang Tri. The survey was a major milestone in the effort to rid the region of the hazardous remnants of past conflict.
Specifically, NPA Vietnam has identified a total of 1,270 hazardous areas covering an area of 615 square kilometers contaminated with cluster bombs. Some 173 square kilometers have been cleared by international non-governmental organizations and the provincial military high command, while the remaining 442 square kilometers of Confirmed Hazardous Areas (CHA) are being categorized for future removal.
The survey, conducted by NPA Vietnam, the Restoring the Environment and Neutralising the Effects of the War (RENEW) project, the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), and PeaceTrees Vietnam (PTVN), revealed the need for landmine clearance — funded by the US Department of State.
The Vietnam War has been over for a considerable amount of time, yet the sheer amount of post-war unexploded ordnance (UXO) has been immense, polluting approximately 6.13 million hectares of land — that’s 18.71% of the national land area — and thereby posing a serious threat to the lives of local people. This, in turn, has had a direct effect on social security and the nation’s economic development.
|NPA has since the start of Non-Technical Survey (NTS) and Technical Survey in 2015, defined a total of 1,270 confirmed hazardous areas (CHAs), covering a land area of 615 km2. Photo: VNA|
Between 1945 and 1975, the amount of bombs, mines, and munitions deployed by foreign countries in the wars in Vietnam was an astounding 15 million metric tons – four times the amount employed in World War II.
Since 1975, cluster bombs from the war have caused an alarming 48.3% of the accidents in Quang Tri, resulting in a devastating level of destruction.
|Map illustrating the progress of CHA clearance by INGOs as of 16 April 2023. Source: NPA Vietnam|
According to the Provincial Mine Action Centre, bombs, mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) have caused casualties to 8,584 people since 1975, including 3,363 deaths. Of the total casualties, children under 16 years old accounted for 31%.
Quang Tri is on track to become the first province in Vietnam to be completely safe from unexploded ordnance (UXO) by 2025, according to the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) Vietnam. The province has been actively working towards this goal and has seen a significant reduction in UXO-related incidents and fatalities over the past few years.
NPA Vietnam and the Quang Tri Mine Action Centre (QTMAC) will conduct a final review of the CMRS progress/outputs on May 22, 2023 in Quang Tri, with a completion report to be presented at the end of the review.