War-era mortar shell kills 4 kids in southern Vietnam

TN News

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A Vietnam War-era mortar shell exploded, killing four children and critically injuring two others and two adults in the Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long Sunday.

The explosion took place in a bamboo bush in front of 49-year-old Nguyen Van Lat's house where a crowded death anniversary party was going on.

Nguyen Hai Dang, 11, Pham Dang Khoa, 7, and Nguyen Thi Ngoc, 4, died on the spot. Le Minh Thanh, 6, succumbed in hospital.

Nguyen Ngoc Duy, 5, Nguyen Van Truong, 12, Ngo Ngoc Phuong and Nguyen Van Tam, both 42, were injured.

A couple of years ago Lat had found the mortar shell while dredging a canal nearby, brought it home, and put it in the bush without informing local authorities.

The police are investigating.

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Around 6.6 million hectares of land, or more than a fifth of Vietnam's land area, are feared to have UXOs left behind from the war, according to official figures.

So far 300,000 hectares (740,000 acres) have been cleared.

Experts estimate it will take hundreds of years and billions of dollars to clear Vietnam of leftover bombs, shells, and mines.

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