UXO blast kills two in central Vietnam

By Duc Huy, Thanh Nien News

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A makeshift ten was set up for the body parts of two men who was killed in an UXO blast on August 13, 2014. Photo: Duc Huy A makeshift ten was set up for the body parts of two men who was killed in an UXO blast on August 13, 2014. Photo: Duc Huy


Two men were killed while trying to extract explosives from an unidentified item of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in the central province of Phu Yen on Wednesday.
The incident happened at around 9 a.m. when Vo Thang, 41, and Nguyen Tan An, 25, of Son Hoa District used a saw to cut the ordnance.
Local residents said they heard an explosion near a house of a park ranger in Son Hoi Hamlet which is located near the Da Chat Forest. Rushing to the site, they found the body parts of the duo.
A local man, who wanted to remain unnamed, said he rejected Thang and An after they wanted to carry the ordnance into his house, VTV reported.
The blast fell down surrounding trees, cut a major electricity line and caused minor damage a nearby house.
Senior Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Quang Tuyen of Son Hoa District police said that preliminary investigation found Thang and An had found the UXO in the mountain in the Da Chat Forest.
Some locals said they saw Thang and An searching for scrap materials in the area over the past several days.
Police are investigating the case.
Tuyen said many people have been killed when cutting UXO for explosives used in fishing and rock mining and selling the shell as scrap metal.
Phu Yen police have seized 12 kilograms of explosives, 49 detonators and four UXOs in the province so far this year.
UXO have been killing many people in Vietnam despite the Vietnam War ended in 1975.
On August 2, a UXO blast killed 57-year-old Ho Van Luoc of Quang Nam’s Phuoc Son District.
Police said the farmer had found a 105mm mortar and was cutting it to make a knife to use on his farm.
On an average, UXO have been killing four people and injuring six others every day since the Vietnam War ended in 1975, according to Committee 504, the national agency tasked with cleaning up UXO.
After 1975, 9,000 of Vietnam's 10,700 communes were identified as contaminated by unexploded ordnance (UXO). Though the Engineer Corps have worked hard to defuse them, 20 percent of the area remains contaminated, the agency reported.
More than 40,000 people have died and 60,000 others have been injured in the last 37 years, according to Committee 504.
According to the government, Vietnam needs US$10 billion to remove the estimated 800,000 tons of UXO, a job that can be done in 300 years with current pace, apart from billions more to resettle people and ensure social welfare at contaminated communes.

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