US officials explore mine consequence recovery in Quang Tri

A working team led by Michael Rothstein, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Plans, Programs, and Operations in the US Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, visited the central province of Quang Tri from October 10-13.

The visit was to find out more about cooperative activities to address post-war bomb and mine consequences sponsored by the US Department of State in Quang Tri. 

The team made field trips to projects underway in the province such as the Restoring the Environment and Neutralising the Effects of the War (Renew) in Dong Duong town, Hai Lang district, and in Quarter No 2, Cam Lo district, and the other run by the Mine Advisory Group in Tan Hiep hamlet, Cam Lo district. 

They also visited the site where dogs are piloted for removing bombs and mines in Hai Lang district and the resettlement area in Ba Long commune, Dakrong district. 

Quang Tri leaders pledged to effectively use financial assistance by the US Department of State and wished the Department to help raise the capability of the province’s steering committee for overcoming war consequences and local partners via attending training classes in Geneva, Switzerland, the JMU University, the US, and visit successful models in the world. 

The province also hoped the Department would introduce US investors to invest in infrastructure, a sea port, tourism, service and trade in the Dong Nam (Southeast) Economic Zone, which was established under the Prime Minister’s approval. 

Quang Tri has been cooperating with many organisations such as MAG (the United Kingdom), RENEW/NPA (Norway), Vietnam Peace Tree (the US) in bomb and mine clearance projects. Up to 17,760 contaminated hectares were cleared to build public buildings. 

The projects have also removed nearly 420,000 bombs and explosive ordnances and helped raise awareness of local people on the issues. More than 270,000 children were guided about risks and safe behaviours with unexploded ordnances. The number of accidents was, therefore, reduced from 456 during 2001-2007 to 127 from 2008-2014.

Quang Tri is one of the provinces most suffered in the war with 83% of its total land containing UXO. 

Since 1975, 8,500 local people have fallen victim to UXO, 31% of whom are children.