South Korea commits $20m to landmine clearance in Vietnam

Unexploded bombs are still regularly found in rural parts of Vietnam

The project is one of the largest of its kind aimed at dealing with unexploded ordnance.

South Korea will provide $20 million in aid to support the removal of landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Vietnam under a project launched on Monday.

The Korea-Vietnam Mine Action Project aims to identify contaminated areas and remove landmines and UXOs in the central provinces of Binh Dinh and Quang Binh.

Official data showed 40 percent of the land in Binh Dinh is contaminated with explosives left from wartime and nearly 28 percent of Quang Binh’s area is affected.

A mortar dropped by the U.S. during the Vietnam War remains unexploded in central Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Xavier Bourgois

Money will also be spent on supporting victims and raising people’s awareness of the risks of mines, officials said at the meeting in Quang Binh.

The Korea-Vietnam Mine Action Project, a collaboration between the Korea International Cooperation Agency and the United Nations Development Program.

Lee Miyon from the Korean embassy said the project is hoped to bring “real changes in the lives of many people in central Vietnam.”

Phung Ngoc Son, general director of the Vietnam National Mine Action Center, said the project is one the largest of its kind to be supported by foreign aid.

Between 1945 and 1975, during two wars with French and American invaders, more than 15 million tons of explosives were dropped on Vietnam; four times higher than the amount used in World War II.

Decades into peace time, around 800,000 tons of unexploded ordnance remains scattered across the country, contaminating 6.1 million hectares or 18.71 percent of the country’s land area.

Explosions have occurred often and killed around 40,000 people since the end of the war, according to official data. – VNExpress

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