Vinh Linh, Quang Tri (28 June 2018) – Dinh Thi Linh has lived with her family in Khe Cat Village of Vinh Khe Commune for eight years. While her husband tends their rubber plantation, she works at home looking after their children and raising some livestock.
“My eldest son felt shocked when he heard a big boom this morning,” said the 35-year-old mother, referring to the detonation that NPA-RENEW teams just conducted in situ on a cassava plot near her home. “So I tried to explain to him that demining teams were demolishing dangerous bombs,” Linh added. “It’s frightening to know that unexploded bombs still remain in our village after so many years.”
Khe Cat Village stretches along the Ho Chi Minh Road and is located on the administrative boundary between Quang Binh and Quang Tri Provinces. It has a small population of more than 100 inhabitants whose houses are scattered from each other. Most of the residents are Bru-Van Kieu minorities who earn their living by afforestation and husbandry.
According to Team Leader Nguyen Tan Thang, who coordinates four Technical Survey teams working in Khe Cat, this area has a high UXO impact, mainly cluster munitions. Findings of NPA-RENEW’s Non-Technical Survey team earlier this year confirmed there was evidence of deadly cluster munitions in Khe Cat Village. Statistics show that the village sustained two deaths due to post-war ordnance. The most recent fatality was reported in January 2004.
NPA-RENEW teams have started working in Khe Cat Village since 11 June 2018 with the aim of identifying and mapping out the exact extent of UXO contamination, or Confirmed Hazardous Areas that need full clearance, and at the same time timely demolishing any munitions that affect local villagers’ safety. For the past three weeks, they have surveyed nearly 900,000 square meters, located and safely destroyed 145 items of UXO, including 135 cluster munitions, during the process.
About Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA): NPA is one of the leading organizations worldwide in Humanitarian Disarmament, including mine action, arms management and destruction, and humanitarian disarmament initiatives. NPA has worked in Vietnam since 2008 following the signing of an MOU with the government of Quang Tri Peoples Committee to support the development of Project RENEW’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) capacity. NPA’s operational footprint now covers all of Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue Provinces, with an increase of assets to two Battle Area Clearance teams, one Non-Technical Survey team, four EOD teams, and 21 Technical Survey teams.
About Project RENEW: Founded in 2001, Project RENEW is a cooperative program between the government of Quang Tri Province and foreign non-governmental organizations dedicated to restoring the environment and neutralizing the effects of the war. Project RENEW carries out UXO Survey and Clearance, Victim Assistance and Risk Education with funding from the U.S. Department of State, Irish Aid and other foundations and individuals.
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