Two international organizations have committed $10.6 million to clear explosives and mines in Quang Binh Province, a former Vietnam War battleground.
Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), a Norway-based organization working to provide post-conflict reconstruction assistance and humanitarian relief during conflicts, provided $5.6 million for Quang Binh to carry out two landmine clearance projects.
The first project, costing $1.6 million, aims to implement a database information system for mine clearance and analysis at provincial level.
The remaining $4 million will be spent to survey traces of wartime cluster bombs across Quang Binh Province to ensure safe clearance procedures.
NPA started providing mine clearance support in Quang Tri, a war-ravaged province also in central Vietnam, during 2008 and has helped clear 70,000 tons of unexploded ordnance.
PeaceTrees Vietnam, an NGO based in the U.S. that works to clear leftover explosives, donated $5 million toward cleaning up bombs, mines and other ordnances to reduce the risk of casualties and support local communities affected by the war.
Authorities in Quang Binh on Thursday said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc approved all three projects, to complete by May 2025.
Quang Binh had suffered severe bombing by U.S. aircraft and warships during the Vietnam War (1954-1975).
According to statistics by the Ministry of National Defense’s Technology Center for Bomb and Mine Disposal and the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, nearly 225,000 ha of land across Quang Binh was contaminated by unexploded ordnances (UXO). Landmine or UXO accidents have claimed more than 2,930 lives in the province.
Vietnam is one of the most heavily contaminated countries in the world when it comes to explosives. 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 more than the amount unleashed during World War II, according to the Vietnam National Mine Action Center.
With support from the international community, Vietnam is clearing an average 40,000-50,000 ha per year, though it may still take up to 100 years to rid the country of this deadly legacy.