Trieu Phong, Quang Tri Province (7 February 2012)
For many years Do Sy Canh, a 35-year-old villager and father of three children, had lived in fear because his house is located in one of Vietnam’s most bomb- and mine-affected areas.Pham Thi Thom, 55-year-old mother of three children in An Tru Village, decided to sell the family’s old carambola tree after she heard that her neighbors had earned a lot of money from selling ornamental trees.
Trieu Ai Commune, Canh’s home, is in Trieu Phong District just south of the wartime DMZ. It is adjacent to Ai Tu Airbase, near what the American military called Phoenix Hill. Lying just three meters from his house were three large caliber artillery shells, with fuzes still in place, making the weapons possibly volatile and extremely dangerous.
Now that danger no longer exists. On 6 February 2012 a Project RENEW team was deployed to Canh’s house. Within hours the trained and skilled technicians had removed the lingering threat from the neighborhood. Today Canh’s fear has been replaced by a comfortable feeling of assurance that his family is safe, and so are his neighbors.
Canh contacted RENEW’s Community Support Team and reported the UXO sighting after he learned that RENEW had recently expanded its operations into his area, and trained experts would come remove the UXO.
“For many years I have been living in fear that my growing children might tamper with these bombs and get hurt,” said Canh. “Years ago the bombs were unearthed by some villagers who were digging a well for water,” he explained, “and when I learned that the RENEW team was now working in our village, I decided to report it to them.”
According to Nguyen Duc Hoa, Team Leader of RENEW’s Community Support Team, the unexploded munitions the team found were 100mm projectiles, all unexploded, and capable of creating terrible havoc for the 10 families who live in the area.
Upon arriving at the site and marking the hazardous area, Team Leader Hoa used his mobile phone to call RENEW’s EOD Quick Response Team. They took down detailed information, deployed team members to the location, and in a short time the munitions were safely destroyed.
More than 35 years after the war, Trieu Phong still remains heavily affected by wartime bombs and mines. Many families such as Mr. Canh’s still live in fear due to the UXO contamination around them. In the past year, since expanding coverage in this area with support from Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), Project RENEW teams have responded to 594 EOD tasks that resulted in some 1,000 UXO being safely destroyed.