Vietnam Resolves to Take Joint Action to Address the Impact of UXOs

Vietnam, one of the nations most acutely impacted by the presence of unexploded ordnance (UXO) resulting from the war, has placed a particular emphasis on the removal of bombs and mines.

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Maj. Gen. Tran Trung Hoa, Director General of the Vietnam National Mine Action Centre, speaks at the New York session. Photo: VNA
Maj. Gen. Tran Trung Hoa, Director General of the Vietnam National Mine Action Centre, speaks at the New York session. Photo: VNA

Vietnam has pledged to take part in efforts to tackle the repercussions of bombs and landmines remaining from the war, with Major General Tran Trung Hoa, director general of the Vietnam National Mine Action Centre (VNMAC), quoted by the Vietnam News Agency (VNA).

Addressing a New York debate session held during the United Nations’ Mine Action Week on the occasion of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action on April 4th, Hoa underscored that Vietnam is one of the countries most severely impacted by unexploded ordnance (UXO).

Today, many areas throughout the nation are still affected by unexploded bombs and landmines, with an estimated 5.6 million hectares of land contaminated, which is equivalent to 17.71% of the total natural land area.

Since 1975, over 40,000 Vietnamese people have tragically lost their lives and a further 60,000 have been injured due to landmines that were left behind after the war, he highlighted.

An overview of the session. Photo: VNA
An overview of the session. Photo: VNA

With concerted efforts by the Vietnamese government and citizens, as well as the support from the international community, in the past five decades since the Paris Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam was signed on January 27, 1973, Vietnam has successfully cleared an area of nearly 2.5 million hectares of contaminated land to provide resettlement, guarantee safety for its people, and facilitate economic development.

Many projects on the settlement of UXO consequences funded by foreign countries like the US, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the UK, Norway, Germany, and Australia, as well as UN bodies and foreign non-governmental organizations such as GICHD, USAID, KOICA, JICA, and ARMAC, have been implemented effectively in Vietnam, according to Hoa.

In the coming months, Vietnam is committed to further advancing its system of legal documents in addressing the consequences of bombs and mines, particularly in creating an ordinance on counteracting UXO consequences, engaging in the creation of international standards and refining national standards and regulations in accordance with international standards, and perfecting a national database system to expedite the resolution of UXO consequences.

bomb is moved onto a car to be transported to the designated site for detonation. Photo: VNA
A bomb is moved onto a car to be transported to the designated site for detonation. Photo: VNA

Vietnam is actively conducting surveys and demining operations, as well as disseminating information to raise public awareness of how to prevent accidents and provide assistance to victims of unexploded ordnance (UXO), the official added.

While in New York, the VNMAC Director General is set to meet with UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu and Director of the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) Ilene Cohn to discuss collaborative initiatives to tackle the consequences of UXO in Vietnam in the near future.

As one of the nations most severely impacted by unexploded ordnance (UXO) from the war, Vietnam has devoted considerable effort to the clearance of bombs and mines in order to liberate land for socio-economic development and to fund initiatives that provide aid and support to UXO victims. This was highlighted by Colonel Nguyen Hanh Phuc, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Mine Action Center (VNMAC), during a press conference to provide information about bomb and mine remediation in Vietnam, which was held in Hanoi.

This year, VNMAC is collecting data to create a report analyzing the implementation of the national action programme on the settlement of post-war bomb and mine consequences in the period of 2010-2025, and developing a programme for 2025-2045, with a vision to 2050.

An Explosive Ordnance Risk Education event for students of Thuan Duc Primary & Secondary School, Dong Hoi City, Quang Binh Province. Source: PeaceTrees Vietnam
An Explosive Ordnance Risk Education event for students of Thuan Duc Primary & Secondary School, Dong Hoi City, Quang Binh Province. Source: PeaceTrees Vietnam

The Centre is developing a mechanism to solicit domestic and international donations for this cause and intends to finalize and submit a comprehensive national strategy on educating people about the risks of bomb and mine-related accidents for approval.

Pham Thi Hai Ha, deputy director general of the Department of Social Assistance under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, has declared that ministries, agencies, and localities have actively implemented policies for providing social assistance to victims of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in order to help them reintegrate into their communities, in addition to educating people about how to prevent UXO accidents. Pham Thi Hai Ha, deputy director general of the Department of Social Assistance under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said ministries, agencies and localities have actively rolled out policies to provide social assistance for UXO victims to reintegrate into the community, and educate people on UXO accident prevention.

Essential services for the victims include orthopedic care, rehabilitation, counseling, psychotherapy, physical therapy, social work, vocational training, employment services, and social welfare policies, according to her.

Hannah Nguyen