Cam Thuy Commune, Cam Lo District (28 March 2013)
A Vietnamese war veteran, the father of a Project RENEW staff member, unearthed an item of unexploded ordnance last Friday while he was digging a trench in his family’s garden in Cam Vu Village.
Nguyen Thanh Luyen, who found the ordnance, contacted his son Nguyen Thanh Phu, who works at RENEW’s Mine Action Visitor Center, and Phu notified RENEW’s Community Support Team via RENEW’s hotline telephone number. Phu’s call-in response is the precise action that he has taught to thousands of primary school students who have come to the Visitor Center during the past year.
Luyen’s house is located in what U.S. forces used to call “Leatherneck Square” – an area covering Cam Lo, Dong Ha, Gio Linh Con Thien and Cam Vu Village which was the site of some of the most intense ground fighting of the Vietnam War.
Familiar with this type of weapon but unsure of how dangerous it was, Luyen stopped work and blocked off the ground around the ordnance with dry wood to prevent others from coming near.
He then called his son Phu, who reported the UXO to RENEW’s Community Support Team via RENEW’s hotline telephone number.
“I’m very aware of this danger because of my work at the Mine Action Visitor Center,” Phu said. “There our mission is to raise awareness of the lingering threat of landmines, cluster bombs and other explosive remnants of war in Quang Tri Province, and to teach children and adults how to be safe.”
“So at RENEW we work closely with Youth Union officials and village chiefs to educate children and adults about UXO risks, to provide them with guidelines of safe behavior, and to encourage them to report UXO sightings so RENEW’s teams can respond with quick and safe removal,” Phu added.
On Monday morning, a RENEW EOD Quick Response team came to the home of Phu’s father and safely removed the ordnance. It was identified as a rocket warhead. It was transported to RENEW’s demolition site for later destruction.
Since 2010, the number of UXO sightings reported to Project RENEW has increased significantly via the hotline telephone number. The number is widely publicized through RENEW’s risk education outreach program in schools and local communities, and through various media.
In 2012, residents in Hai Lang, Trieu Phong, Cam Lo and Dakrong Districts made 180 calls to RENEW, resulting in hundreds of UXO being safely destroyed.
Project RENEW is grateful to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) for technical and financial support to our clearance operations and to U.S. Department of State for supporting our risk education program.