Even a near-perfect record of no UXO accidents over a period of years cannot be sustained forever. Explosive ordnance accidents can still happen in Quang Tri, and they do — another one this week.
The second accident of 2022 — and the second accident after a period of four years with no accidents — just occurred on Thursday, 2 June 2022, in Xa Bai Village of Huong Linh Commune, Huong Hoa District. The blast from an explosive munition assumed to be a bomb fuze, according to Quang Tri Mine Action Center’s investigation team, seriously injured 15-year-old Ho Van Sy, a Bru Van Kieu ninth-grader. The accident happened as Sy and two younger boys, Ho Tam Nhin and Ho Van Ty, were looking for bee honey in their village. The boys encountered a yellow cylindrical object that the youngest boy Ho Van Ty recalled as 20 cm long. They all thought it was an explosive. However, as the two younger boys were standing some distance away, Sy threw the object, which exploded when it hit a concrete embankment that protects a wind power turbine. Hearing the blast and calls for help from Nhin and Ty, wind power workers and locals rushed to the scene and transported the injured boy to the hospital. The blast caused multiple injuries to the 15-year-old boy’s right leg and abdomen. According to doctors at Quang Tri General Hospital, Ho Van Ty has now regained consciousness, and his injuries are no longer life-threatening.
The record of ZERO accidents over four years in Quang Tri Province could not be sustained once a mortar round exploded on 16 Feb 2022, killing a 43-year-old farmer and father of one daughter residing in Cam Nghia Commune, Cam Lo District. Now the second accident has occurred, this one in nearby Huong Linh Commune, Huong Hoa District, within only four months of the first accident. Ho Van Sy is the first child (under 18 years of age) to be injured by explosive ordnance over a period of eight years, during which Quang Tri had NO child victims. That previous accident, on 17 October 2014, resulted in critical injuries to a 17-year-old boy in Cam Nghia Commune, Cam Lo District when an unidentified munition went off in his family’s front yard.
This week’s accident in Huong Linh Commune is a grim reminder of the lingering impact of explosive ordnance and the importance of continued reinforcement of awareness among adults — and particularly teenagers. As we make further progress in survey and clearance of explosive ordnance, local people must continue to be vigilant and protect themselves and their families from the threat of bombs and mines for many years to come.
Project RENEW – Restoring the Environment and Neutralizing the Effects of the War Building D, Service Center for Foreign Affairs, Nguyen Co Thach Street, Dong Ha City, Quang Tri Province, Vietnam 0233 3858 445 tel / firstname.lastname@example.org / www.landmines.org.vn
Ngo Xuan Hien, Communications & Development Manager, 0915 352 565 mobile
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