Norway and the United States provided an extra US$20.8 million budget to Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) for bomb clearance in Laos.
“It is my privilege today to announce an additional nearly US$20 million contribution by the United States government for continued UXO survey and clearance efforts in four southern provinces,” announced US Ambassador to Laos Dr Peter M. Haymond.
According to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the three parties, the NPA will increase its capacity to carry out surveys, clearance, and explosive ordnance risk education activities in four southern provinces of Laos which are Attapeu, Champassak, Saravan, and Xekong provinces.
The Vientiane Times reported that nearly 30,000 people are expected to directly benefit from the increasing funding because it will allow the NPA to hire over 400 new staff members, providing jobs for over 820 local people in southern Laos.
“When it comes to mine action, Norway takes pride in the solid work of Norwegian People’s Aid in Laos and elsewhere,” the Ambassador of Norway to Vietnam, Ms Hilde Solbakken, who oversees Norwegian diplomatic affairs in Laos said.
“…Clearly, we need to continue international action and coordination to speed up surveying and clearance to make sure villagers can use their land safely and without fear,” she added.