Hundreds of war-era bombs recovered from Vietnam home

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Hundreds of unexploded bombs were safely removed from under a home in Quang Tri Province on Monday.

The clearance was carried out by project RENEW (Restoring the Environment and Neutralizing the Effects of the War) - a partnership between Quang Tri Province and international organizations to reduce the effects of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Vietnam.

According to Vietnam's clearance authority, the US Army discharged more than 15 million tons of bombs, landmines and other explosive materials on Vietnam. The campaign left roughly 800,000 tons of UXO in the ground after 1975.

On Sunday, construction workers discovered the wartime munitions while digging the foundation of a new kitchen for Le Cu, 70, of Co Thanh Village in Trieu Thanh Commune, Trieu Phong District. Construction was immediately halted and the family called RENEW for help.

A total of 250 explosive items were safely removed and transported to the team's disposal site for destruction on the same day. Cu, who settled in the area in 1975, said he has encountered unexploded munitions and human remains in the village before.

Located 150 meters from Quang Tri's Old Citadel, Co Thanh Village witnessed some of the worst fighting during the Vietnam War.

"The village has sustained many casualties due to UXO accidents during efforts to reclaim land for settlement and farming. Last year, my family found bombs and mines while building a fence for the house", said Cu's daughter Huong.

Huong, a local teacher, works with the local Youth Union and RENEW to educate children about the risks posed by UXO in the central village.

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According to the Defense Ministry's Engineer Corps, more than one fifth of Vietnam's total area is contaminated with unexploded ordnance (UXO). At its current pace, the corps estimates it will take 300 years to completely clear the country of ordnance.

However, concerned authorities are looking to reduce the period to 100 years, according to a statement made by the Corps at a conference in January to announce a plan to decontaminate UXO in 2012 prepared by Committee 504, the national agency assigned to deal with UXO consequences between 2010 2015.

Between 1975 and 2000, UXO 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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