Bomb clearance project sends detection dogs to central Vietnam

By Nguyen Phuc, Thanh Nien News

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Two detection dogs assist a UXO clearance project in Quang Tri Province in central Vietnam. Photo: Nguyen Phuc Two detection dogs assist a UXO clearance project in Quang Tri Province in central Vietnam. Photo: Nguyen Phuc

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A Norwegian-funded project for clearing ordnance left from the Vietnam War is using trained dogs as its new searching force.
Nguyen Thi Dieu Linh, a manager of the RENEW project in the central province of Quang Tri, said the Norwegian People’s Aid, which helps fund the project said it has tried using dogs to search for unexploded ordnance and similar war materials in the region.
Three Cambodian experts have been guiding two Belgium dogs to search the area since July 3, and they have found 35 cluster bombs and 15 other explosive materials over an area more than 20,400 square meters.
Linh said the trial phase will last until September, or possibly to the end of the year, and then the team will report the result and estimate possible cost if the method is replicated widely in the province, which saw one of the most devastating bombings of the Vietnam War.
Quang Tri was a center for American military bases during the peak of the Vietnam War and a principle battleground during the 1968 Tet Offensive.
An estimated 400,000 pieces of UXO remain buried across 480,000 hectares of land in the province and it can be found in residential areas, gardens and even under the floors of houses.
Official statistics list more than 7,000 people, 31 percent of them children, as victims of UXO accidents in the province between 1975 and 2011.
RENEW is counted among the most effective international organizations working toward clearing UXO left in the province.
Its new project is conducted with support from the Swedish International Cooperation Development Agency (SIDA).

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