2015 To Walk the Earth in Safety: Vietnam

Bureau of Political-Military Affairs

Thirty years of conflict from World War II through the Vietnam War contaminated the majority of Vietnam with UXO. The most UXO-devastated provinces are in the central region and along the former demilitarized zone, including Ha Tinh, Quang Bihn, Quang Nam, and Quang Tri. In addition, a few landmines remain near the border with China. Since 1975, at least 105,023 casualties have been reported in Vietnam. In 2013, there were 50 reported landmine and UXO casualties, a significant decrease from the 73 reported in 2012. However, with no nationwide data collection mechanism, the total number of landmine and UXO casualties cannot be ascertained. The Vietnamese government performs the majority of landmine and UXO clearance through its military clearance operator, the Technology Centre for Bomb and Mine Disposal (BOMICEN). In 2013, Vietnam established the civilian-led Vietnam National Mine Action Center (VNMAC) to improve transparency and more closely align its efforts with international norms.

Date: 2015 Description: Children in Tan Loi village, Quang Binh Province, Vietnam are ferried to safety after MAG received a request from authorities to deal with a 750-lb aircraft bomb. A kindergarten only 60 meters (196.85 feet) from the bomb had to be evacuated before the MAG team made the bomb safe. © Photo courtesy of Sean Sutton/MAG.

From FY1993 to FY2014, the United States invested more than $81 million in Vietnam for the clearance and safe disposal of UXO and other explosive remnants of war, bettering the lives of victims, increasing access to land and vital infrastructure, and supporting the development of CWD capacity. In FY2014, the U.S. government contributed more than $10.7 million for CWD in Vietnam.

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

• Catholic Relief Services provided customized support to survivors of UXO and landmine accidents and their families in Quang Tri Province, including medical support, vocational training, and education. Catholic Relief Services also supported the integration of mine risk education materials in primary school curriculums.

• Center for International Stabilization and Recovery did planning for a 2015 Regional Senior Managers’ Course specializing in management training for leaders in mine action in Hanoi with field visits to Quang Tri.

• Golden West improved CWD capacity in Vietnam, specifically through training and technology transfer to BOMICEN.

• The International Center – Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation provided technical assistance to develop CWD capacity for BOMICEN, VNMAC, and the Executive Office of the National Mine Action Program.

• MAG oversaw the transition of equipment from Quang Binh to Quang Tri Province per program priorities.

• NPA conducted an evidence-based survey and supported clearance teams in Quang Tri Province in central Vietnam.

• PeaceTrees Vietnam fielded EOD response teams and clearance operations along the heavily contaminated Quang Tri border with Laos.

• Roots of Peace collaborated with MAG to conduct clearance and replanting operations aimed at assisting local farmers in Quang Tri Province.

• MAG and NPA began the first year of a joint five-year project aimed at clearing the whole of Quang Tri Province of known UXO hazards. NPA began conducting extensive evidence-based survey and input data into a provincial database unit. MAG carried out UXO clearance operations based on NPA’s survey results.

The Department of Defense funded the following:

• HD R&D in partnership with MAG, continued an operational field evaluation of vegetation cutters, cutting 250,000 square meters (61.8 acres) of vegetation. HD R&D also partnered with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s Project RENEW and NPA to continue evaluating an armored excavator in area-preparation and clearance roles.

• USPACOM deployed military EOD teams to Vietnam to conduct underwater UXO disposal training for BOMICEN. This training included 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.