US pledges $10 million for landmine clearance in Vietnam

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Mines Advisory Group (MAG) Vietnam's technician Daniel Dobb (R) shows an Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) detector to US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller (L) during a field trip in Quang Tri Province on March 2, 2015. Photo credit: Reuters

The US government will spend US$10 million on programs to survey and clear war-era Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) in Vietnam this year, a US security envoy said Monday. 
Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller said during a field trip in the central province of Quang Tri to observe US-funded efforts to survey and clear UXO leftover of the Vietnam War, Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborers) newspaper reported. 
She said $8 million of the sum will be spent for UXO clearance programs in Quang Tri alone. 
Gottemoeller told Quang Tri government officials the ongoing UXO clearance programs in the province should be apply to other landmine-contaminated areas in the world. 

U.S. bomb shells are seen at a mines and bombs museum in Vietnam's central Quang Tri province, March 2, 2015. Photo: Reuters

American NGOs have spent $80 million on such programs in Vietnam over the last 20 years, she added. 
In 1996, Quang Tri is the first province in Vietnam to be allowed to implement a pilot foreign-funded UXO clearance program with the US NGO PeaceTrees Vietnam. 
Since then a number of international NGOs, including MAG, NPA, RENEW, CPI, SODI and APOPO, have stepped in. 
Thanks to their efforts, 8,399 hectares of UXO-contaminated land in Quang Tri has been freed from 556,448 UXOs. 

Mines Advisory Group (MAG) Vietnam's technician Daniel Dobb (R) shows U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller (C) B-bombs marked spots during a field trip in Vietnam's central Quang Tri province, March 2, 2015. Photo: Reuters 

Quang Tri, the former demilitarized zone during the Vietnam War between 1954 and 1975, is one of the most contaminated areas in the world. 
UXOs have killed and injured more than 8,000 people in Quang Tri, even after the war ended 40 years ago.
Ten percent of the 15.4 tons of ammunition used during the Vietnam War failed to explode, according to UK-based Mines Advisory Group, often known as MAG. 
As many as 100 UXOs are found every day around Quang Tri in both residential and farming land, Reuters reported.

Mines Advisory Group (MAG) Vietnam's technician Daniel Dobb (3rd R) guides U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller (R) as workers detect for Unexploded Ordnances (UXOs) on a hill during a field trip in Vietnam's central Quang Tri province, March 2, 2015. Photo: Reuters 

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