Hai Lang, Quang Tri (10 August 2015) – Nguyen Van Vu, a farmer in Village 1 of Hai Tho Commune, was finally relieved of a heavy burden today when an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team managed by RENEW and NPA safely located and removed a big air-dropped bomb from his family’s garden.
The bomb was found at about a meter deep under the family’s ornamental tree fence which is adjacent to a dirt road that leads to a crowded neighborhood.
Born in 1954, Vu still remembers the date when B-52 bombers bombarded his village in 1972. “An aircraft dropped three bombs at a time and two went off, creating two bomb craters in my family’s garden,” Vu recalls. “The third didn’t explode and my father decided to bury it right in our garden after driving all of us away”.
Forty-three years passed, and the thought that the big bomb might detonate as time went on still weighed heavily on Vu’s mind. Several metal collectors had even asked him to show them the bomb’s location so that they could dig it up and pay him some money. But Vu turned them down, fearing that a reckless excavation would create havoc for the entire village.
Today the 61-year-old son is at peace.
Last month, members of RENEW/NPA’s Non-Technical Survey team visited Village 1 and interviewed Vu and his family. Knowing that Project RENEW is a reputable demining organization in Quang Tri Province, Vu agreed to cooperate. Yet this cautious man requested some paperwork to be signed by Project RENEW with the local authorities. Finally, Vu allowed RENEW/NPA EOD team to carry out their professional undertaking today.
The EOD team used detectors to search for the bomb’s location and then took two hours to excavate it. According to Team Leader Le Xuan Tung, the bomb was identified as a U.S. MK82 500lb General Purpose bomb and measured 1.54 meters long. Since it was safe to remove, the bomb was transported to Project RENEW’s Central Demolition Site for destruction on the same day.
Since March 2015, in partnership with Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), Project RENEW has expanded mine action work into Hai Lang District, which has sustained the second-highest number of unexploded ordnance (UXO) casualties in Quang Tri Province: 1,324 deaths and injuries since 1975. So far this year, RENEW teams operating in Hai Lang have conducted 374 EOD tasks and safely destroyed 522 items of UXO.
The EOD quick response is part of major interventions of Project RENEW’s UXO survey and clearance program in Quang Tri Province for the period of 2015-2017. The program receives funding from the U.S. Department of State via NPA.