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Diplomacy in Action

Asia


To Walk the Earth in Safety (2008)
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
June 2008
Report
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Afghanistan

The flag of Afghanistan is three equal vertical bands of black (hoist), red, and green, with a gold emblem centered on the red band; the emblem features a temple-like structure encircled by a wreath on the left and right and by a bold Islamic inscription above.

An Afghan technician employed by HALO cuts up the barrel of an abandoned artillery piece, one of many conventional weapons and munitions that the government of Afghanistan inherited and does not need for its security. Conventional weapons destruction projects like this one, which is funded by a grant from PM/WRA, prevent criminals, terrorists, and illicit-arms traffickers from fueling fresh conflict. [Col. Stu Harris, USMC (Retired), Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement]
An Afghan technician employed by HALO cuts up the barrel of an abandoned artillery piece, one of many conventional weapons and munitions that the government of Afghanistan inherited and does not need for its security. Conventional weapons destruction projects like this one, which is funded by a grant from PM/WRA, prevent criminals, terrorists, and illicit-arms traffickers from fueling fresh conflict. [Col. Stu Harris, USMC (Retired), Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement]
Having endured nearly three decades of constant war, Afghanistan remains affected by landmines, explosive remnants of war, abandoned ordnance, and small arms and light weapons (SA/LW). The majority of the explosive hazards are located in agricultural fields, irrigation canals, and grazing areas critical to civilian use. Major cities, airports, and power stations are also impacted, as are the borders with Iran and Pakistan. The United States’ conventional weapons destruction activities in Afghanistan, which encompass the full range of humanitarian mine action, are designed to deal with these issues and mitigate hazards posed to the civilian population.

In FY 2006, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs contributed $13,512,000 to humanitarian mine action and conventional weapons destruction activities in Afghanistan. PM/WRA funding supported humanitarian demining training for the Afghan National Army, National Police, National Border Police, and the Ministries of Defense and the Interior. PM/WRA also funded a National Ammunition Survey to locate, assist, and secure at-risk ammunition stockpiles throughout Afghanistan. These funds contributed to the completion of a Landmine Impact Survey that improved the setting of priorities for road and land clearance. PM/WRA, through a contract with DynCorp International, recruited, trained, and equipped three Afghan explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams, and granted more than $5,080,000 to Afghan humanitarian mine action nongovernmental organizations (NGO) who made advances in manual and mechanical clearance operations, survivors’ assistance, and mine risk education. These Afghan NGO partners included Afghan Technical Consultants, Demining Agency for Afghanistan (DAFA), Mine Clearance Planning Organization (MCPO), Mine Detection Dog Center (MDDC), and the Organization for Mine Clearance and Afghan Rehabilitation (OMAR). Also in FY 2006, PM/WRA continued SA/LW and man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS) destruction activities in close coordination with the government of Afghanistan.

In FY 2007, PM/WRA contributed $15,000,000 to conventional-weapons destruction activities in Afghanistan. Strategic goals included the protection of victims of conflict, restoring access to land and infrastructure, and the development of Afghan national capacity. To that end, PM/WRA awarded a $5,535,963 contract to DynCorp International for the development of Afghan EOD teams, continued support of the National Ammunition Survey Process, physical security and stockpile management of SA/LW and MANPADS, and various conventional weapons destruction activities. Under this contract, DynCorp International also provided technical advice to five Afghan humanitarian mine action NGOs, who received a total of $6,864,037 in grants for manual and mechanical clearance operations, survivors’ assistance, and mine risk education. These Afghan NGO partners included Afghan Technical Consultants, DAFA, MCPO, MDDC, and OMAR. PM/WRA granted $2,600,000 to The HALO Trust (HALO) for continued support to manual and mechanical mine clearance teams, and three HALO Mobile Weapons and Ammunition Destruction Teams. Also in FY 2007, PM/WRA continued SA/LW and MANPADS mitigation and destruction activities in close coordination with the government of Afghanistan.

The U.S. Agency for International Development’s Leahy War Victims Fund rendered a total of $341,000 in assistance to survivors of conflict-related injuries and illnesses in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007. To learn more about the Leahy War Victims Fund, visit www.usaid.gov/our_work/humanitarian_assistance/the_funds/lwvf.

In April 2007, the U.S. Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Research and Development Program began an evaluation of soil sifting technologies in partnership with The HALO Trust. The excavator sifting attachments and stationary sifter, valued at $100,000, have significantly aided HALO’s anti-personnel mine and battlefield clutter clearance in northern Afghanistan. The Orbit Screen stationary sifter, in particular, has provided impressive results in processing up to 45.3 cubic meters of contaminated soil per hour.

Cambodia

Flag of Cambodia is three horizontal bands of blue (top), red (double width), and blue with a white three-towered temple representing Angkor Wat outlined in black in the center of the red band.

A batch of chocolate brownies? No. This is a fresh tray of 24 carefully measured charges that Roger Hess, Director of Field Operations for the Golden West Humanitarian Foundation, produced from anti-vehicle mines at the Explosive Harvesting Program facility in Cambodia, which is funded by PM/WRA and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Research & Development Program. The idea is simple: rather than shipping explosives to mine-affected countries, it is faster, cheaper, and more logical to “harvest” landmines in those countries that are still potent and abandoned or surplus munitions for their explosives which can be cut into small detonators that can be used to blow other mines in place (in situ) or to destroy larger quantities of munitions in disposal collection pits. [John Stevens, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement]
            A batch of chocolate brownies? No. This is a fresh tray of 24 carefully measured charges that Roger Hess, Director of Field Operations for the Golden West Humanitarian Foundation, produced from anti-vehicle mines at the Explosive Harvesting Program facility in Cambodia, which is funded by PM/WRA and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Research & Development Program. The idea is simple: rather than shipping explosives to mine-affected countries, it is faster, cheaper, and more logical to “harvest” landmines in those countries that are still potent and abandoned or surplus munitions for their explosives which can be cut into small detonators that can be used to blow other mines in place (in situ) or to destroy larger quantities of munitions in disposal collection pits. [John Stevens, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement]
Cambodia remains one of the most severely landmine and explosive remnants of war (ERW) affected countries in the world due to nearly three decades of conflict. Heavy mine contamination began in the 1960s and continued in 1978 after Vietnam invaded Cambodia, driving Khmer Rouge forces to the Thai-Cambodian border. To prevent the Khmer Rouge’s return, the Cambodian government created the K-5 Belt—a densely mined barrier along the Thai border. In 1988, Khmer guerrilla groups still infiltrated deep into Cambodia, laying unmapped minefields for short-term defensive purposes. Today, despite major assistance from the United States and other donors, the annual casualty rate, though significantly reduced, still remains high: there were 450 casualties reported in 2006, albeit a noticeable reduction from the known 875 casualties that were reported in 2005.

Two Cambodian deminers employed by MAG, protected from possible explosion by a metal blast shield and from the sun by an umbrella, remotely operate a Tempest machine with a flail that is clearing brush. Afterwards, MAG deminers using metal detectors such as HSTAMIDS can more easily sweep the field. The U.S. Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Research & Development Program, which has also been responsible for the successful testing and operational deployment of HSTAMIDS in Cambodia and several other mine affected countries, is funding iterative testing of this Tempest. [John Stevens, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement]
Two Cambodian deminers employed by MAG, protected from possible explosion by a metal blast shield and from the sun by an umbrella, remotely operate a Tempest machine with a flail that is clearing brush. Afterwards, MAG deminers using metal detectors such as HSTAMIDS can more easily sweep the field. The U.S. Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Research & Development Program, which has also been responsible for the successful testing and operational deployment of HSTAMIDS in Cambodia and several other mine affected countries, is funding iterative testing of this Tempest. [John Stevens, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement]
In FY 2006, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs allotted $4,900,000 for humanitarian mine action in Cambodia. The HALO Trust (HALO) received two PM/WRA grants of $900,000 and $65,000. The first grant was used to deploy manual deminers, mechanical vegetation cutters, a Tempest flail, mine risk education (MRE) teams, and mobile explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams, focusing in the K-5 Belt. The second grant assisted HALO in fundraising to support two demining teams in Banteay Meanchey and Battambang provinces, and to purchase eight metal detectors. PM/WRA granted Freedom Fields USA $50,000 to partner with HALO to remove landmines in Banteay Meanchey and Battambang provinces, and to raise U.S. public awareness of the landmine problem.

PM/WRA granted the Golden West Humanitarian Foundation $316,120 to help support its Explosive Harvesting Program, which separates explosives from locally-obtained landmines and munitions and packages it into explosive charges for use by mine action operators in the field, thereby recycling the explosives for safe, humanitarian use, and reducing local demining and ERW remediation costs. Spirit of Soccer received $93,000 from PM/WRA to create and manage an MRE program for children and youths based on soccer and other athletic activities. PM/WRA granted $38,404 to Norwegian People’s Aid to conduct a trial for an explosive detection dog team in cooperation with the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC).

 In the photo at left, a Cambodian deminer employed by MAG shows the first-generation control apparatus for remote operation of Tempest demining machines. In the photo at right, another MAG Cambodia deminer at a different minefield displays a newer, lighter remote control mechanism that is even more responsive to the operator’s commands. This is but one example of the many improvements to demining technologies, along with original first-generation inventions and off-the-shelf adaptations, which the U.S. Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Research  & Development Program generously supports and shares freely with the international mine action community. [John Stevens, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement]
In the photo at left, a Cambodian deminer employed by MAG shows the first-generation control apparatus for remote operation of Tempest demining machines. In the photo at right, another MAG Cambodia deminer at a different minefield displays a newer, lighter remote control mechanism that is even more responsive to the operator’s commands. This is but one example of the many improvements to demining technologies, along with original first-generation inventions and off-the-shelf adaptations, which the U.S. Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Research & Development Program generously supports and shares freely with the international mine action community. [John Stevens, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement]

PM/WRA granted MAG (Mines Advisory Group) $895,636 to deploy manual deminers, mechanical vegetation cutters, Bozena and Tempest flails, community liaison teams, and mobile EOD teams to benefit economic development projects in Battambang and Preah Vihear provinces. PM/WRA also granted $75,000 to Clear Path International to assist landmine survivors in Battambang, and $20,000 to Landmines Blow! for its Project Safe Water to assist landmine-affected populations by building wells to provide clean water in the Sray Snom district. PM/WRA contracted DynCorp International to manage, disburse, and monitor U.S. financial support for the operation of existing CMAC Demining Unit (DU) #3 teams, assign a technical advisor to work full time with DU #3, and provide classroom EOD training to CMAC DU #3 and the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.

Also in FY 2006, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Leahy War Victim’s Fund supported the Disability Action Council and the Prosthetics and Rehabilitation Program with $950,000 to enhance the capacity to ensure the rights of people with disabilities and strengthen the range of services provided through national rehabilitation centers in Cambodia.

In FY 2007, PM/WRA allotted a total of $3,937,000 for mine action in Cambodia. HALO was granted $974,500 to continue its work in the K-5 Belt, deploying manual demining, mechanical, MRE and mobile EOD teams. MAG was granted $874,500 by PM/WRA to continue deployment of its manual demining, mechanical, community liaison and mobile EOD reams in Battambang and Preah Vihear provinces. The Golden West Humanitarian Foundation received $250,000 to help continue its Explosive Harvesting Program. Spirit of Soccer received $83,000 from PM/WRA to continue its MRE program through soccer-related activities, and Clear Path International was granted $55,000 to continue its Rice Mill Project, in support of landmine survivors in Battambang province. Finally, PM/WRA continued its contract with DynCorp International, providing $1.7 million to advise and monitor U.S. financial support for the operation of existing CMAC DU #3 teams, and providing classroom EOD training as needed.

The U.S. Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Research and Development Program (HD R&D) has worked for many years in Cambodia, providing technologies valued at more than $2,000,000 for operational field evaluations with CMAC, HALO, MAG, and the Golden West Humanitarian Foundation. Beginning in June 2006, HALO integrated the multi-sensor Handheld Standoff Mine Detection System (HSTAMIDS) in its manual anti-personnel mine clearance operations of densely cluttered minefields. The results have been impressive, with 250,000 square meters cleared and 1,829 mines found through the end of FY 2007. The HSTAMIDS evaluation will be expanded in FY 2008 to include operations with MAG.

During FY 2006 and FY 2007, HD R&D continued evaluations of the Tempest vegetation cutting flail and the innovative Explosive Harvesting System, which recasts stockpiled explosives into demolition charges for mines and unexploded ordnance. In 2006, HD R&D initiated two additional vegetation and mine clearance technology evaluations with excavator soil sifting attachments and the MAXX+ remote-controlled mini-excavator. In addition, HD R&D provided $120,000 to develop a regional test and training site for mine detection technologies at the CMAC training center in Kampong Chnang.

Laos

A screenshot of the UXO Lao Web site.
A screenshot of the UXO Lao Web site.
Flag of Laos is three horizontal bands of red at top, double-width blue, and red, with a large white disk centered in the blue band.The majority of Laos’ explosive remnants of war (ERW) and smaller landmine contamination occurred between 1964 and 1973 as a result of the country’s own civil war along with neighboring wars in Southeast Asia. During an extensive air campaign against the North Vietnamese forces in Laos, U.S. aircraft dropped over two million tons of bombs; some estimates say that up to 30 percent of these bombs failed to detonate on impact. Since then, clearance teams have discovered at least 186 types of munitions from all former combatants. Besides posing a threat to the Laotian people in impacted areas, ERW also impedes their access to agricultural land and disturbs traditional land-use patterns.

In FY 2006, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs provided $3,510,000 for ERW clearance in Laos. PM/WRA granted $1,672,000 to Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) to help support capacity development at UXO Lao, the primary government ERW clearance organization in Laos. PM/WRA spent $547,865 on a contract with ArmorGroup for continued ERW clearance, and to train and develop the newly formed National Regulatory Authority (NRA). This contract includes the provision of up to two technical advisors and equipment upgrades. PM/WRA granted MAG (Mines Advisory Group) $557,643 for integrated manual, explosive detection dogs, and mechanically assisted clearance in Xieng Khouang province, along with a $60,000 grant to support an all-female Lao demining team. The Swiss Demining Federation received $422,492 from PM/WRA to integrate ERW clearance capacities within an active rural development program. PM/WRA also contributed $150,000 to World Education/ Consortium for survivors’ assistance and a development project, and $100,000 through the United Nations Development Program for administrative support to the NRA.

In FY 2007, PM/WRA provided $2,550,000 for ERW clearance and related development work in Laos. PM/WRA let a $1,815,104 contract with ArmorGroup North America (AGNA) to advise and manage U.S. support for ERW clearance, and awarded $932,847 to UXO Lao for its operations and $50,000 in administrative support to the NRA. PM/WRA granted $165,000 to NPA in order to extend the work of two NPA advisors, who were included in the AGNA project. PM/WRA granted $248,520 to MAG to continue its clearance work in Xieng Khouang province. Finally, PM/WRA granted $321,376 to World Education/Consortium for its ERW education projects in school districts in the heavily-impacted eastern areas of Laos.

The U.S. Agency for International Development’s Leahy War Victims Fund rendered a total of $842,000 in assistance to survivors of conflict-related injuries and illnesses in 2006 and 2007. To learn more about the Leahy War Victims Fund, visit www.usaid.gov/our_work/humanitarian_assistance/the_funds/lwvf.

In 2007, the U.S. Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Research and Development Program provided the Uni-Disk large-class excavator, valued at $350,000, to MAG for a six-month vegetation-clearance evaluation in Langkhang, Laos. To learn more about the U.S. Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Program, visit www.humanitariandemining.org and www.wood.army.mil/hdtc.

Philippines

Flag of Philippines is two equal horizontal bands of blue (top) and red with a white equilateral triangle based on the hoist side; in the center of the triangle is a yellow sun with eight primary rays, and in each corner of the triangle is a small yellow five-pointed star.In FY 2006, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs spent $150,000 with Alloy Engineering, a Filipino company, to destroy 33,000 tons of excess and captured small arms and light weapons in the Philippines that were no longer needed by the military, or that had been seized by authorities from criminals and terrorists.

The U.S. Agency for International Development’s Leahy War Victims Fund rendered a total of $500,000 in assistance to survivors of conflict-related injuries and illnesses in the Philippines during 2006 and 2007. To learn more about the Leahy War Victims Fund, visit www.usaid.gov/our_work/humanitarian_assistance/the_funds/lwvf.

Sri Lanka

A Sri Lankan deminer employed by HALO carefully excavates for landmines that were emplaced along a bund line on the Jaffna peninsula. Note the proximity of homes and cattle, which indicates that people have moved back and are already farming in this former battle zone where fresh fighting has since taken place. [John Stevens, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement]
A Sri Lankan deminer employed by HALO carefully excavates for landmines that were emplaced along a bund line on the Jaffna peninsula. Note the proximity of homes and cattle, which indicates that people have moved back and are already farming in this former battle zone where fresh fighting has since taken place. [John Stevens, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement]
The Sri Lanka flag is yellow with two panels; the smaller hoist-side panel has two equal vertical bands of green (hoist side) and orange; the other panel is a large dark red rectangle with a yellow lion holding a sword, and there is a yellow bo leaf in each corner; the yellow field appears as a border around the entire flag and extends between the two panels.Two decades of armed conflict between the government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have resulted in landmine and explosive remnants of war contamination in parts of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan government estimates that 98 to 150 square kilometers of Sri Lanka are impacted, in addition to those mined areas in the high-security zones that are maintained by the Sri Lankan Army. The northern Jaffna Peninsula is the most severely affected, with roughly half of the landmines emplaced in Sri Lanka scattered in this area. A cease-fire in 2002 between the government and the LTTE provided an opportunity for humanitarian mine action to begin. Significant progress in clearing land was made, thanks to support from the United States, other donor nations and organizations, and the United Nations, so that displaced persons could return to their land and safely farm. Unfortunately, fresh fighting threatens to undo much of this work.

 This fertile field on Sri Lanka’s Jaffna Peninsula was once infested by landmines. Now, it is safely and productively farmed thanks to clearance that was supported by PM/WRA. [RONCO Consulting Corporation]
This fertile field on Sri Lanka’s Jaffna Peninsula was once infested by landmines. Now, it is safely and productively farmed thanks to clearance that was supported by PM/WRA. [RONCO Consulting Corporation]

In FY 2006, the United States provided $1,508,129 in humanitarian mine action assistance to Sri Lanka. The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs awarded $1,108,129 to RONCO Consulting Corporation to complete capacity building of the Sri Lankan Army Humanitarian Demining Unit through the placement of full-time technical advisors until December 2006. PM/WRA granted $50,000 to the One Sri Lanka Foundation to partner with The HALO Trust (HALO) to clear minefields located in the government-controlled areas on the Jaffna Peninsula, and to improve community access to farmland and infrastructure.

In FY 2006, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Leahy War Victims Fund contributed $350,000 to the Disability Support Program to enhance opportunities for people, mine survivors and others with mobility disabilities.

In FY 2007, PM/WRA granted $400,000 to HALO to continue supporting humanitarian mine action on the Jaffna Peninsula.

In FY 2006 and FY 2007, the U.S. Department of Defense Humanitarian Demining Research and Development Program, provided the MAXX+ to the Sri Lankan Army for an operational field evaluation. The $300,000 MAXX+ is a remote-controlled commercial mini-excavator with multiple tools for vegetation removal and area reduction. MAXX+ cleared mine-laden soil berms in an area that was subsequently returned to agricultural use and resettlement.

Tajikistan

Flag of Tajikistan is three horizontal stripes of red (top), a wider stripe of white, and green; a gold crown surmounted by seven gold, five-pointed stars is located in the center of the white stripe.Tajikistan is affected by landmines that were emplaced during the 1992–1997 civil war, and by Russian and Uzbek forces along the country’s borders. The population is most affected by landmines that were laid by Uzbekistan’s security services in 1999–2001 to prevent infiltration of the militant Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Besides being a threat to people, Tajikistan’s landmine contamination causes losses to livestock and prohibits access to the already scarce pastures and agricultural land.

In FY 2006, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs granted $145,600 to UNICEF to provide mine risk education to children in the affected communities.

Thailand

A deminer with the Thailand Mine Action Center makes friends with a child. [Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement]
A deminer with the Thailand Mine Action Center makes friends with a child. [Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement]
Flag of Thailand is five horizontal bands of red (top), white, blue (double width), white, and red.In FY 2006 and FY 2007, the U.S. Department of Defense Humanitarian Demining Research and Development Program (HD R&D) provided several mechanical technologies valued at $1.4 million for vegetation clearance and area preparation operational field evaluations, including the remote-controlled Beaver and Tempest, and the large-class SDTT (Severe Duty Tractor and Tools) and Uni-Disk excavators. HD R&D also provided the Thailand Mine Action Center with the Handheld Standoff Mine Detection System. To learn more about the U.S. Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Program, visit www.humanitariandemining.org and www.wood.army.mil/hdtc.

Vietnam

Flag of Vietnam is red with a large yellow five-pointed star in the center.Vietnam is heavily contaminated by explosive remnants of war (ERW) due to a series of conflicts involving Japan, France, and the United States from World War II through the early 1970s. It is also affected by some landmines, most emplaced during conflicts with neighboring Cambodia and China during the 1970s. The most ERW-affected provinces are Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, and Quang Tri. ERW also affect Vietnam’s border region with Laos, an area that was intensively bombed by the United States in an effort to interdict North Vietnamese troops and supplies. To encourage mine action organizations to use the findings of the Landmine Impact Survey (LIS) in Vietnam which was funded by the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, PM/WRA began mandating that its grantees in Vietnam seek the interim survey results. It also began funding projects only in provinces where the LIS had been completed. PM/WRA continued this approach in 2007 and intends to maintain it in Vietnam henceforth. The U.S. Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Research & Development Program (HD R&D) is also exclusively supporting projects in provinces where the LIS has been completed.

Two PeaceTrees Vietnam Mobile Demining Team Leaders, at one of their ERW disposal pits on the former USMC firebase at Khe Sank, brief Tinh Ngyuen, with the HD R&D; John Stevens, Program Manager for Vietnam with PM/WRA; Zeke Topolosky, HD R&D Project Engineer; and Charlie Chichester, Deputy Program Manager for the HD R&D program. PM/WRA helps fund PeaceTrees Vietnam’s ERW and landmine clearance work. Coffee is now grown on much of the old firebase and local inhabitants also use the area for family burial plots. [Quang Le, PeaceTrees Vietnam]
Two PeaceTrees Vietnam Mobile Demining Team Leaders, at one of their ERW disposal pits on the former USMC firebase at Khe Sank, brief Tinh Ngyuen, with the HD R&D; John Stevens, Program Manager for Vietnam with PM/WRA; Zeke Topolosky, HD R&D Project Engineer; and Charlie Chichester, Deputy Program Manager for the HD R&D program. PM/WRA helps fund PeaceTrees Vietnam’s ERW and landmine clearance work. Coffee is now grown on much of the old firebase and local inhabitants also use the area for family burial plots. [Quang Le, PeaceTrees Vietnam]
The U.S. Department of State has donated millions of dollars of demining equipment to BOMICEN over the years. Decals like this one were affixed to the most recent batch of equipment that was donated by PM/WRA
The U.S. Department of State has donated millions of dollars of demining equipment to BOMICEN over the years. Decals like this one were affixed to the most recent batch of equipment that was donated by PM/WRA.
In FY 2006, PM/WRA contributed over $3.6 million for humanitarian mine action in Vietnam. The Vietnamese Technology Center for Bomb and Mine Disposal (BOMICEN) received nearly $1 million in demining equipment from PM/WRA to continue helping it develop national capacity to clear ERW and persistent landmines. PM/WRA granted $1,280,573 to the Veterans for America (still identified in Vietnam as the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation or VVAF) to continue managing the LIS in the central provinces. The LIS features a concurrent rapid explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) response to address particularly dangerous ERW and landmines that are brought to the attention of the surveyors during site visits. The surveys, monitored by VVAF, are conducted by BOMICEN personnel who also conduct any necessary clearance. MAG (Mines Advisory Group) received a PM/WRA grant of $954,908 to conduct EOD rapid response and some static site clearance in Quang Binh province.

UNICEF received $129,100 from PM/WRA to conduct and facilitate mine risk education (MRE) in Thua Thien Hue, Quang Binh, Ha Tinh, Nghe An, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, and Lam Dong provinces. MRE in Quang Tri province was also furthered by a PM/WRA $74,677 grant to Catholic Relief Services. PeaceTrees Vietnam received a grant of $64,519 from PM/WRA to continue operating an EOD Rapid Response Team in Quang Tri province, which has been supported in part by PM/WRA since 2005. The Humpty Dumpty Institute received a $63,200 grant to help Vietnamese landmine and ERW survivors in Quang Tri province increase the output of their mushroom farming in order to better support themselves and their families. This particular effort is reinforcing a program that was initiated by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation (VVMF) and Project RENEW. Clear Path International received a $60,000 grant from PM/WRA to render assistance to landmine and ERW survivors in Quang Tri and Quang Binh provinces. Finally, PM/WRA granted VVMF $32,919 to further MRE and render trauma care for unexploded ordnance/mine survivors in Quang Binh province.

 Two amateur deminers at a former U.S. Marine Corps firebase in Quang Tri province that had been cleared of ERW by MAG, funded in part by PM/WRA. These impoverished men were searching for ERW whose metal could be sold to recyclers, having calculated that it really was worth risking life and limb to earn money this way. Thanks to MAG’s thoroughness, they did not find any hazardous items. Highly dangerous recycling of ERW and landmines by amateurs such as these, who are driven by economic need, is not unique to Vietnam and has prevented the worldwide casualty rate from mines and ERW from dropping even faster than it has. Mine risk education is unlikely to alter such behavior. [John Stevens, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement]
Two amateur deminers at a former U.S. Marine Corps firebase in Quang Tri province that had been cleared of ERW by MAG, funded in part by PM/WRA. These impoverished men were searching for ERW whose metal could be sold to recyclers, having calculated that it really was worth risking life and limb to earn money this way. Thanks to MAG’s thoroughness, they did not find any hazardous items. Highly dangerous recycling of ERW and landmines by amateurs such as these, who are driven by economic need, is not unique to Vietnam and has prevented the worldwide casualty rate from mines and ERW from dropping even faster than it has. Mine risk education is unlikely to alter such behavior. [John Stevens, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement]
In FY 2007, PM/WRA provided $2,705,000 in humanitarian mine action assistance to Vietnam. This included approximately $500,000 worth of demining equipment to BOMICEN. PM/WRA granted $1 million to VVAF to complete Phase II of the LIS in Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, and Quang Tri provinces, and to expand the LIS and parallel EOD rapid response in Nghe An, Thua Tien Hue, and Quang Ngai provinces. PM/WRA granted $700,000 to MAG to support their mobile ERW clearance team in Quang Binh province, and $98,500 to PeaceTrees Vietnam in further support of their mobile EOD team in Quang Tri province. PM/WRA granted $108,000 to Catholic Relief Services to expand their MRE to primary school children in Quang Tri province, and $100,000 to Viet-Nam Assistance for Handicapped to initiate ERW/ MRE in two districts in Nghe An province. VVMF received a $70,000 grant to establish mobile outreach for the prosthetics and orthotics workshop at Quang Tri hospital to benefit injured ERW and mine survivors. PM/WRA granted $98,500 to Clear Path International to provide emergency and ongoing medical assistance to injured ERW/mine survivors and their families in Quang Tri, Quang Binh, Quang Namh, and Thua Thien Hue provinces, which was matched by the Slovenian International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance. Finally, Counterpart International received $30,000 to build safe playgrounds, establish first-aid stations, and promulgate informal MRE in four ERW-affected communities in Quang Binh province as part of their “Safe Farms, Safe Schools” program.

The U.S. Agency for International Development’s Leahy War Victims Fund rendered a total of $2,121,237 in assistance to survivors of conflict-related injuries and illnesses in 2006 and 2007. To learn more about the Leahy War Victims Fund, visit www.usaid.gov/our_work/humanitarian_assistance/the_funds/lwvf.

In FY 2007, the U.S. Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Program spent $2,000 to assess ERW/mine action in Vietnam. To learn more about the U.S. Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Program, visit www.humanitariandemining.org and www.wood.army.mil/hdtc.

 

 



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