Dong Ha, Quang Tri (August 30, 2013)
An explosion of wartime ordnance critically injured a 42-year-old resident of Hai Le Ward, Quang Tri Township on Friday as he was digging and replanting trees in the forest, resulting in loss of one arm, a mangled hand, leg injuries, and severe burns over 50 percent of his body.
Mr. Nguyen Van T. was working in a forest far from his home when the accident occurred around 7:00 a.m. on Friday morning. He was immediately taken to Quang Tri General Hospital in critical condition where he received emergency treatment, resuscitation and sedation, then he was transferred to the Hue Central Hospital at 10:00 a.m.
Because of the seriousness of the blast injuries, doctors were uncertain whether the victim would survive.
Mr. T. has three children who are still of school age. The family lives in Tich Tuong Village of Hai Le Commune, where they earn a modest income from growing paddy rice and seasonal labor.
This is the second bomb and mine accident in Quang Tri Province this year. On 9 May 2013, an explosion killed a 20-year-old married man and injured his cousin while they were planting rice on a slash-and-burnt farming plot 60 km north of Khe Sanh.
Dinh Ngoc Vu, Operations Manager for the Project RENEW teams which clean up and safely dispose of such ordnance, said accidents such as these are a reminder of the urgent need to quantify the problem of unexploded ordnance contamination. “Through technical surveys such as the ones Project RENEW teams are conducting with the support of Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) in Quang Tri,” Vu said, “we can identify hazardous areas and map them with the provincial database unit for future clearance. More importantly,” he said, “local people will be provided with this life-saving information to keep themselves safe.”
RENEW and NPA are urging officials at the national, provincial, and district levels to make such surveys and clearance of hazardous areas a top priority. With the right allocation and deployment of resources, the surveying and clearance of hazardous areas could be completed in the next decade or less, the danger would be managed, and most contaminated areas in Vietnam could be considered safe for local people to live normal lives, without fear.