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500-kg bomb exposed on riverbank in northern Vietnam

Thursday, September 25, 2014, 12:30 GMT+7

A 500-kg bomb has emerged from the bank of a river in the northern Vietnamese province of Quang Tri after continuous rains in the area, local authorities reported Wednesday.

>> UXOs kill 1,500 Vietnamese every year >> Vietnam needs 300 years to clear UXOs >> Boy loses 4 limbs, 2 others injured by UXO While patrolling along the bank of the Se Pon River yesterday, border guards found the unexploded ordnance (UXO) lying on the ground nearby, said the Tam Thanh border gate station in Thanh commune, Huong Hoa District. The bomb is 1.8 meters long and 50 cm in diameter. Prolonged rains over the past few days have washed away soil, leaving the bomb exposed, the station said. A mobile UXO team was called to the scene to handle the weapon, and they safely moved it to a designated location for destruction in accordance with applicable regulations. Weapons experts said that it is an MK-8 bomb, which U.S. forces dropped on the battlefield in Quang Tri’s Khe Sanh area during the Vietnam War before 1975. According to a report delivered at the Development Partnership on Mine Action Conference in Hanoi on March 14, accidents caused by unexploded ordnance (UXOs) left in Vietnam during the war have killed more than 42,000 people and injured about 62,000 others since 1975. This means UXO-related accidents kill 1,500 people and injure 2,300 per year, the report said. Speaking at 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. He called on the U.S. government, with its conscience and responsibility, to make further contributions to the detection and clearance of UXOs, and to help mitigate consequences caused by UXOs left over from the war. About 800,000 tons of bombs, mines, and other explosive weapons were left over and buried in Vietnam after its resistance war against the American military from 1954 to 1975, Pham Quang Xuan, deputy head of the Steering Committee for the National Action Program on Settling Consequences of UXOs, said at a press briefing in mid-March. Only 3.26 percent of the country’s total area of land contaminated with UXOs has been cleared.

At this rate it may take as long as 300 years to clear all of UXOs, he stressed.

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