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UXOs kill 1,500 Vietnamese every year

Saturday, March 15, 2014, 15:45 GMT+7

Accidents caused by unexploded ordnance (UXOs) left over in Vietnam during the wartime have killed more than 42,000 people and injured about 62,000 others in Vietnam since 1975, according to preliminary statistics. 

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This means UXO-related accidents kill 1,500 people and injure 2,300 others per year.

These figured were announced at the Development Partnership on Mine Action Conference in Hanoi on Friday, which was organized by the State Steering Committee on the National Action Program on Settling Consequences of UXOs.

Addressing the event, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said over 20 percent of the country’s total land area has been contaminated with UXOs and many accidents related to UXOs have occurred, causing casualties and affecting the use of land, forest and water resources, and the life of people.

After the Vietnam War ended in 1975, the Vietnamese government and the Vietnam People’s Army have taken many measures to cope with UXO aftermaths.

The government spends US$80-100 million resolving UXO issues every year and has received support from domestic as well as international organizations.

As a result, tens of thousands of hectares of land have been cleared off UXOs.

The PM appealed to international donors, ambassadors of other countries and international friends to support the Vietnamese government’s efforts to surmount UXO consequences.

He also asked Vietnam’s concerned agencies to work with one another on cooperating with the governments of other countries and international organizations in clearing UXOs and coping with UXO aftermaths.

PM Dung also called on the U.S. government, with its conscience and responsibility, to make more contributions to the detection and clearance of UXOs and to help mitigate consequences caused by UXOs left over during the war in Vietnam.

Vietnam’s attempts to settle UXO aftermaths were highly appreciated by Samuel Perez, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Stefano Toscan, director of the GICHD, many foreign ambassadors to Vietnam, and other delegates from international organizations. 

They affirmed that their countries and organizations will continue providing assistance to Vietnam in settling UXO issues and in supporting UXO victims in the near future, through a joint statement of donors and non-government organizations.

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