Vietnam, US sign agreement for clearing war-era ordnance

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Vietnam's Deputy Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs Bui Hong Linh (right) and US ambassador David Shear sign an MoU on clearing unexploded bombs in Vietnam. Photo by Thu Hang

The US signed a memorandum of understanding with Vietnam Monday to help locate and clear unexploded ordnance left over from the Vietnam War, which ended in 1975.

Vietnam is one of the countries most threatened by UXO, according to the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs.

Its survey in 2002, which did not include the country's maritime areas, found 6.6 million hectares with UXO.

The bombs had killed at least 42,135 people by 2000 and injured 62,163 others, with children accounting for 30 percent of the victims.

Only 20 percent of the UXO left from the war has been found and defused, the ministry said.

US ambassador David Shear, who signed the MoU on behalf of his country, said the US has since 2003 provided $65 million for UXO clearance efforts.

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Deputy Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs Bui Hong Linh, who is also deputy head of a national action program for mitigating the consequences of UXO, said the memorandum is essential since it sets some ground rules for cooperation in dealing with war leftovers.

Linh, who signed the MoU, said by 2015 the program would finish mapping UXO spots nationwide and establish a data center on victims and the clearance process.

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