Gio Linh, Quang Tri (23 April 2020) — The farmers of Gio Chau Commune today happily paused their harvest of winter-spring rice crop when RENEW/NPA team members spoke over loudspeakers asking them to retreat to a safe distance for the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team to destroy a cluster bomb on Ha Trung paddy field.
It was the 14th cluster bomb that four Technical Survey teams of RENEW/NPA had found on the paddy fields of Ha Trung Village this week. Team Leader Truong Cong Vu said that many of these cluster bombs were unearthed at 20 to 30-cm depth on the fields where people had reaped their rice.
Farmer Nguyen Hung was among the those working on Ha Trung paddy fields who were instructed by the EOD team members to move away from the detonation location. “Thanks to the RENEW/NPA teams, we now feel much safer to farm in our land,” said the 60-year-old farmer who has lived in Ha Trung for over 40 years.
RENEW/NPA resumed important survey and clearance work on Monday, 20 April, after a two-week stand-down due to the COVID-19.
In Ha Trung Village, RENEW/NPA is deploying four Technical Survey teams with the task of defining Confirmed Hazardous Areas for clearance, in response to evidence collected during the Non-Technical Survey process. After only two days of work, the teams have surveyd 115,000 m2 of rice, rubber and acacia land, locating 14 cluster bombs and nine other explosive munitions. All of these dangerous munitions have been safely destroyed by the EOD team to ensure safety for local people.
The Survey & Clearance Program of Project RENEW – Norwegian People’s Aid is funded by the U.S. Department of State and the UK Department for International Development.
Project RENEW was established in 2001 as a joint effort between the government of Quang Tri Province and interested INGOs to “restore the environment and neutralize the effects of the war” – with the main focus on unexploded ordinance.
Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) is one of the leading organizations worldwide in humanitarian disarmament. NPA has worked in Vietnam since 2008 following the signing of an MOU with the government of Quang Tri People’s Committee to support the development of Project RENEW’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) capacity. NPA’s operational footprint now covers all of Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue Provinces, with an increase of assets to four Battle Area Clearance teams, one Non-Technical Survey team, four EOD teams, and 25 Technical Survey teams.