Vietnam hopes to clear UXOs in 100 years

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More than one fifth of Vietnam's total area is contaminated with unexploded ordnance (UXO) and it woud take 300 years to complete decontamination at the current pace, an official said.


However, concerned authorities are looking to reduce the period to 100 years, said major general Pham Quang Xuan, Commander of the Defense Ministry's Engineer Corps.


Xuan made the statement during a conference held January 6 to announce a plan to decontaminate UXOs in 2012 prepared by Committee 504, the national agency assigned to deal with UXO consequences between 2010 2015 (Committee 504).


According to Xuan, around 6.6 million hectares (16,308,888 acres) equal to 21 percent of the country's total land area, was contaminated with 800,000 tons of UXO, not including those at sea.


The Committee 504 has set a target to clear UXOs in the next 100 years after calculating that the work would be done in 300 years at the current pace.


"In the next five years, decontamination work will focus on six provinces with high density of UXO - Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue, Quang Nam and Quang Ngai," VnExpress quoted Xuan as saying.


He said a detailed map of UXO-tainted areas nationwide would be drawn up by 2015.



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According to the Committee 504, the US Army discharged more than 15 million tons of bombs, landmines and other explosive materials on Vietnam with around 800,000 tons of UXO left behind after the Vietnam War ended in 1975.


Between 1975 and 2000, UXOs killed more than 40,000 people and injured 60,000 others in Vietnam. The nation spends about US$100 million a year on UXO decontamination.

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