Gio Linh, Quang Tri (23 July 2020) — A quick response by Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team No. 1 managed by Project RENEW/Norwegian People’s Aid (RENEW/NPA) in Quang Tri Province have helped prevent a potential, tragic accident that could have occurred in a dense neighborhood in Gio Linh District.
On Thursday, 23 July 2020, the RENEW/NPA’s EOD team removed an 8-inch naval shell from a house in Trí Tiến Village of Gio Son Commune. The team later transported the heavy weapon to RENEW/NPA’s central demolition site in Trieu Phong District and safely destroyed it.
A few days ago, 50-year-old Hoàng Thiện, a resident of Trí Tiến Village, uncovered the naval shell at the depth of 1.5 meters while he was backfilling his garden with soil. He recklessly moved the shell closer to his house in spite of the immediate danger from the explosive ordnance. The location where he put the shell was just over one meter from his house’s cement yard where his young children play every day.
Fortunately, on Wednesday a pair of RENEW/NPA Non-Technical Surveyors were in the neighborhood, working in support of the Quang Tri Mine Action Center to set priorities of Confirmed Hazardous Areas in Gio Son that need clearance. As they interviewed the family and explained the dangers of explosive ordnance to them, the father of five children showed the RENEW/NPA surveyors the naval shell and asked for assistance.
RENEW/NPA’s Ops officers confirmed that the ordnance was an 8-inch naval projectile weighing 260 pounds. The ordnance was filled with Explosive D – the standard main charge for Navy armor-piercing projectiles. If it accidentally explodes, its devastation would be terrible.
The incident indicates that some people are still not cautious enough when dealing with post-war explosive ordnance (EO). There is a need to continue conducting EO risk education outreach so that families understand the EO threat and how to protect themselves and their neighborhoods, and to help pinpoint locations of EO for safe removal.
For nearly three years, since 2018, thanks to joint efforts of mine action organizations to survey and clear EO, Quang Tri Province has had zero accidents – a record since the war ended in 1975. Notwithstanding, it is important for the communities to be constantly reminded of the lingering threat of EO while survey and clearance operations continue for years into the future.
The EO Clearance and Survey Program of Project RENEW/Norwegian People’s Aid is funded by the U.S. Department of State and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).
Project RENEW was established in 2001 as a joint effort between the government of Quang Tri Province and interested INGOs to “restore the environment and neutralize the effects of the war”.
Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) has worked in Vietnam since 2007 and collaborated with national and provincial authorities to implement capacity development, survey and clearance projects in Hanoi, Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue and Quang Binh provinces.