2015 To Walk the Earth in Safety: Solomon Islands

Report
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs

Date: 2015 Description: A Royal Solomon Islands Police Force EOD officer removes abandoned WWII ordnance exposed by the Badger excavator that was provided by the HD R&D Program for an operational field evaluation.  © Photo courtesy of Golden West.

World War II-era UXO still contaminate the Solomon Islands. From FY2011 through FY2014, the United States provided nearly $2.8 million to support EOD and clearance in the Solomon Islands. In FY2014, the U.S. government contributed more than $900,000 for CWD in Solomon Islands.

The Department of State supported the work of the following implementing partner:

• Golden West continued EOD training for some members of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) to EOD Level II and others to Level III.

The Department of Defense funded the following:

• HD R&D continued an evaluation with Golden West of the Badger, an excavator, in the Solomon Islands on Guadalcanal Island, where U.S. and Japanese forces fought in World War II. The Badger has a suite of attachments for removing thick, mature tropical vegetation and deeply-buried UXO and abandoned explosive ordnance (AXO). It provides access to EOD teams to locate and clear UXO/AXO found at Hells Point, which locals scavenge to bomb fish, endangering populations and destroying fishing grounds. The Badger has cleared 895,000 square meters (221 acres) of extremely dense jungle vegetation in difficult terrain and found 4,867 pieces of UXO/AXO.

• USPACOM deployed military EOD teams to the Solomon Islands to conduct underwater UXO disposal training for RSIPF, including survey, marking, and mapping of UXO contaminated areas; landmine and UXO disposal; quality assurance and control; and stockpiled conventional munitions assessments. The OHDACA appropriation funded humanitarian mine-action program activities, supplies, equipment, and services.