Trieu Long, Trieu Phong (22 Feb 2011)
Village residents of Trieu Long Commune in Trieu Phong District made two separate calls within hours of each other to ask Project RENEW’s EOD Quick Response team to come remove explosive ordnance they had discovered in close proximity.
The villagers called Project RENEW’s toll-free telephone number which has been widely publicized in recent years, a “hotline” number that alerts RENEW’s EOD team about newly discovered threats.
Local resident shows team members the location of unexploded ordnance in their family’s graveyard.
On the morning of 21 February, Ms. Le Thi Kieu, 52 years old, called from An Mo Village to report a “long bomb” she had discovered while working in her garden.
She said the explosive device was just under the surface of the soil, and she immediately stopped working because of her fear.
At about the same time in the same village, Mr. Do Van Thien was visiting his family’s graveyard following the end of the Tet lunar New Year, a tradition followed by most Vietnamese families. Mr. Thien was terrified to see a bomb lying near his father’s tomb. Fearing that others visiting the cemetery might be in danger, he quickly used his mobile phone to call RENEW’s team to come deal with the bomb.
Truong Van Vinh, EOD Team Leader, arranged for his team to be at both village sites soon after lunch. They assessed the immediate danger and what they would need to do to neutralize the problems, coordinated with village authorities to carry out the work, and began preparations to destroy the ordnance safely.
“Trieu Long Commune is one of the most UXO contaminated communes in Trieu Phong District,” Vinh said, “because of its proximity to the Old Citadel where very bloody fighting took place in the summer of 1972″.
“We found a rocket propelled grenade in the woman’s garden and an 82mm mortar in the cemetery,” he said. “It was a little after dark when we finished necessary preparations yesterday, so we decided to wait and destroy the items this morning,” Vinh explained.
This kind of response is typical of daily tasks enabled by Project RENEW’s EOD Quick Response, which bring greater safety to the communities served. During the first two months of 2011, 29 such EOD tasks were responded to and a total of 45 items of UXO – including cluster bombs – were safely destroyed.
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