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Increasing safety for farmers

64-year-old Phan Hiep tends 12 cows. In 1976, he voluntarily joined the demining forces and got injuries to his arm and other parts of the body when a cluster bomb suddenly exploded.

Quang Tri, Vietnam: For four decades, Trieu Hoa Commune residents have lived anxiously with cluster bombs remained in their rice fields. The lingering fear is now over.

Mr. Phan Hiep tended his cows in the rice fields of Ha My Village when he was asked by the NPA-RENEW team members to drive his herd away. The mobile team doing explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) was preparing to detonate four cluster munitions found in Ha My Village in the province of Quang Tri, Vietnam. Their colleagues had located these deadly weapons below the surface of a rice field where people must have farmed for many years. Before the lunch break, the EOD Team finished their demolition task, safely destroying four cluster munitions, and moved on. 

243 Increased safety for farmers in their daily rice field 12092018 (2)

NPA-RENEW Technical Survey operators use large loop and handheld detectors to search for remnants of cluster munitions.

"We are grateful when the teams find and safely destroy those deadly cluster munitions so that we can work safely," said Hiep. 

This week NPA-RENEW Technical Survey teams return to Trieu Phong District after local people have harvested their summer crops. Taking advantage of this farm recess, the teams are tasked to define and map out contaminated land that needs cleanup. The findings have confirmed that Ha My Village was subject to cluster munitions strikes during wartime. Since the war ended, the village has 10 casualties, including three deaths and seven injuries, due to cluster munitions and other explosives. 

At age 64, Mr. Phan Hiep still loves working. The now elderly herdsman was injured in 1976 when he was leading a team to manually remove unexploded bombs and mines. "I was lucky to be alive, though suffering injuries, as a cluster bomb exploded a few meters away," he said.

Using evidence of U.S. bombing strike data and previous spot tasks in response to UXO callouts reported by local residents, NPA-RENEW will define Confirmed Hazardous Areas for clearance teams from Mines Advisory Group (MAG) to clean up. This joint effort is part of the Integrated Survey and Clearance project initiated in 2015 with the funding of the U.S. government and implemented by NPA-RENEW, MAG, and PeaceTrees Vietnam in the entire Quang Tri Province.

NPA Survey & Clearance Program implemented at Project RENEW is funded by the U.S. Department of State and a cooperation project between NPA and Quang Tri Province Department of Foreign Affairs.

Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) is one of the leading organizations worldwide in humanitarian disarmament. NPA has worked in Vietnam since 2008 following the signing of an MOU with the government of Quang Tri People’s 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.

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” – with the main focus on unexploded ordinance.

18.09.2018 | Hien Xuan Ngo