Vietnam to publish unexploded ordnance map to curb casualties

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Two experts from the British Mines Advisory Group (MAG) in Quang Tri Province remove a  1,000-lb MK83 bomb, which was found under a busy road intersection in the province on May 18, 2016. Photo: Nguyen Phuc/Thanh Nien Two experts from the British Mines Advisory Group (MAG) in Quang Tri Province remove a 1,000-lb MK83 bomb, which was found under a busy road intersection in the province on May 18, 2016. Photo: Nguyen Phuc/Thanh Nien

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Vietnam, where incidents linked to unexploded ordnance kill more than 1,500 people and maim another 2,200 a year, is set to publish a map showing all the high-risk sites soon in an effort to cut the number of deadly blasts. 
News website VnExpress on Wednesday cited Deputy Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh as saying that the project is nearly completed after "many years of work."
The map, which will be updated every year, is expected to reduce casualties caused by UXO and help authorities tackle the problem effectively, according to the website.
Official figures show UXO threatens around 6.1 million hectares, or more than 18 percent of land in Vietnam. 
Vietnamese agencies together with non-government organizations now deal with 30,000-35,000 hectares of contaminated land every year, according to data from the Ministry of Defense.

A file photo shows soldiers handling a war bomb in the central province of Thua Thien - Hue. Photo: Nguyen Phuc/Thanh Nien

However, the government has been trying to speed up the job so that it can clear 100,000 hectares per year. The goal is to finish the challenging UXO mission in some 50 years instead of 300 years as previously estimated.
So far Vietnam has received support from the governments of Belgium, India, Japan, Norway, the UK, and the US in addition to the assistance of nearly 40 non-government organizations.
South Korea is the latest sponsor pledging around $20 million to clear sites in the central provinces of Binh Dinh and Quang Binh, VnExpress reported.

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