Norwegians Clearing Cluster Bombs in Quang Tri

– It is remarkable to see how fast Quang Tri has developed after the war. The landscape here today is nothing like the moon resembling landscape after the intense bombing during the war, said Ambassador Mr. Ståle Risa while visiting Dong Ha village in a province where nearly every village was fully destroyed during the Vietnam War.

– Nevertheless, Quang Tri is still facing severe problems because of cluster munitions and other unexploded ordnances (UXOs), he continued.    

According to statistics, over 2 million cluster bombs were dropped over Quang Tri district alone. The United States combat records show that out of the ten most bombed provinces, Quang Tri was ranked as the most targeted. Over 600.000 cluster bombs and numerous landmines were left unexploded, and these war remnants have still grave consequences. Annually more than 100 people die in Vietnam because of landmines and cluster bombs, and approximately 92 % of the total area in Quang Tri remains contaminated with UXO.

– The People’s Committee of Quang Tri Province requested NPA to set up a project in 2006, after findings from the Health Service and a Mine Victim study, NPA’s new Country director in Vietnam, Jonathon Guthrie, said while safely escorting the Norwegian delegation from the Embassy in Hanoi through a cluster bomb demolition area.    

 – NPA provides technical and managerial support for two teams here in Quang Tri, he continued.

NPA provides technical and managerial support for two teams in Quang Tri, and is in the process of establishing its own clearance operations in Thua Thien Hue. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affair is NPA’s biggest donor.

The Norwegian delegation raised their eyebrows when they where asked to sign up their blood type before entering the demolition area just outside Dong Ha.  

– Its standard safety procedures, the NPA country director reassured the nervous Embassy staff.   

 NPA continues, with Norwegian support, with technical and financial support in the safe removal and destruction of explosive remnants in Vietnam.      

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