US Continues To Support Quang Tri Province in Post-War Recovery Effort

Ambassador Bonnie Denise Jenkins, US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, paid a working trip to the central province of Quang Tri to learn about its post-war recovery.

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US Continues To Support Quang Tri Clearing UXOs
At the meeting at the Quang Tri Mine Action Center. Source: QTMAC

The Quang Tri Mine Action Center (QTMAC) on September 9 had welcomed and worked with the delegation of the US Department of State led by Ambassador Bonnie Denise Jenkins, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs on their visit to Quang Tri province.

The meeting participated by Deputy Chairman of Quang Tri Provincial People’s Committee Hoang Nam, head of Quang Tri Mine Action Steering Committee; Nguyen Trieu Thuong, director of Provincial Department of Foreign Affairs; QTMAC Director Thai Huu Lieu; QTMAC Deputy Director Dinh Ngoc Vu; and representatives of Mines Advisory Group (MAG), PeaceTrees Vietnam, and Norwegian People’s Aid/RENEW.

Welcoming the delegates, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Hoang Nam presented results of the cooperation between Quang Tri and international and foreign non-profit organisations in addressing the consequences of bombs and mines left from war.

He said according to a report by the Vietnamese Defence Ministry in 2017, Quang Tri was the province most affected by bombs and mines. From 1996 till July 2022, the province raised over USD 146,6 million from international and foreign non-profit organisations for post-war mine clearance, and so far 275.85 million sq.m have been cleared.

Since 1996, the US Government has assisted Quang Tri in clearing bombs and mines, building schools for the disabled and medical stations, and improving the emergency response capacity at a total cost of around USD 91.1 million.

Nam asked the US Department of State to continue funding clearance projects in Quang Tri via foreign non-profit organizations, helping the province improve the capacity of coordinating bomb and mine clearance, and launch projects in support of Agent Orange (AO) victims.

On behalf of QTMAC, its deputy director Dinh Ngoc Vu delivered a presentation on the mine action (MA) overview in Quang Tri, highlighting the outstanding achievements of Quang Tri, and QTMAC’s role in mine action coordination management and monitoring in recent years.

US Continues To Support Quang Tri Clearing UXOs
Ambassador Bonnie Denise Jenkins and female staff from three organizations. Source: QTMAC

After being shared with the process of development, operations, achievements, and vision of QTMAC, Jenkins and the delegates appreciated the great results in MA that Quang Tri and MA organizations have recently achieved under the flexible and effective coordination of QTMAC in implementing the provincial MA strategy for the period 2016-2025.

The delegation then had a round-table discussion on the role and participation of women in MA in Quang Tri with 15 female staff from MAG, NPA/RENEW and PeaceTrees Vietnam. The discussion highlighted the important role of women and their great contribution to humanitarian MA in Quang Tri.

At the end of the meeting, Jenkins told that she had a useful visit to central Quang Tri province where she witnessed the close and efficient coordination between the locality and the US side including non-governmental organizations in carrying out MA projects.

Jenkins said she wished to work more closely with the locality to address bomb and mine consequences, while praising women’s role in the effort.

US Continues To Support Quang Tri Clearing UXOs
Visiting a mine disposal site in Trieu Son commune, Trieu Phong district. Source: QTMAC

During the trip, Jenkins visited a mine disposal site in Trieu Son commune, Trieu Phong district and the office of the PeaceTrees Vietnam, the first US non-governmental organization (NGO) licensed to operate in unexploded ordnances (UXOs) search and clearance in Vietnam.

US Continues To Support Quang Tri Clearing UXOs
The Quang Tri Mine Action Visitor Center welcomes Ambassador Bonnie Denise Jenkins, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security of the US Department of State and other delegates from the Department and the US Embassy in Vietnam.

Quang Tri is the most polluted locality in Vietnam in terms of UXOs, which are scattered over 81% of its land area and have killed over 3,430 people and injured 5,100 during peacetime.

In recent years, the province has cleaned 25,000ha of UXO-contaminated land; discovered and safely handled over 765,000 bombs, landmines, and explosive materials; assisted thousands of UXO victims; and improved most of the local population’s awareness of UXO threats.

It is striving to become the first province in Vietnam to be free of wartime UXOs after 2025.

Hannah Nguyen