750-pound bomb safely detonated in Quang Tri province
The bomb was identified an air-dropped 750-pound M117 series. Photos: Ngo Xuan Hien/NPA-RENEW
Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams of NPA-RENEW on April 23, removed a US aerial bomb from an acacia plantation near the La Vang Catholic Church in Hai Lang district, Quang Tri province after a tree farmer made an emergency call to the Quang Tri Mine Action Center (QTMAC).
The weapon was discovered by Nguyen Duc Nhan, a tree farmer who lives in Hai Lang townlet, while he was inspecting his acacia forest last weekend.
Terrified when he recognized the danger, Nhan immediately called the QTMAC’s hotline number to inform the dispatcher that some unidentified scrap scavengers left a big bomb on his acacia forest in Truong Phuoc village of Hai Lam commune, about 10km from the La Vang Catholic Church.
Nhan urgently asked for quick response to deal with the threat.
EOD team members use rope and a winch to move a 750-pound M177 bomb…
…and load it into the team’s pickup truck for transport to the central demolition site.
Early on April 23 morning, NPA-RENEW EOD teams arrived at the acacia forest and started their investigation. The bomb was identified an air-dropped 750-pound M117 series filled with 385 pounds of explosive.
Because its two fuzes were missing, NPA-RENEW national technical officer decided to allow the EOD team to move it to the NPA-RENEW’s central demolition site in Trieu Trach commune, Trieu Phong district for disposal.
Destruction of the M117 bomb safely detonated by NPA-RENEW team.
Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) Survey & Clearance Program implemented at Project RENEW is funded by the US Department of State and the DFID - UK Department for International Development, and a cooperation project between NPA and Quang Tri province Department of Foreign Affairs.
According to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Vietnam is one of countries most contaminated with unexploded ordnances (UXOs).
It is estimated that about 800,000 tonnes of UXOs were left across the country after the war ended in 1975, mostly in the central region. Some 6.13 million hectares of land are polluted with or suspected of being polluted with UXOs, accounting for 18.82 percent of the country’s total area.
Since 1975, UXO incidents have killed more than 40,000 people and injured 60,000 others, most of whom were breadwinners of their families or children.
In 1996, Quang Tri was the first locality in Vietnam to carry out a pilot foreign-funded UXO clearance programme in partnership with the U.S. non-governmental organisation (NGO) PeaceTrees Vietnam. Since then, a number of international NGOs like MAG and NPA have joined the effort.
In the past 23 years, the province has received more than USD 80 million from domestic and foreign sponsors to address post-war consequences.
Thanks to the support, 132 million square metres of UXO-contaminated land in the locality have been cleaned up, helping ensure safety for local residents and develop local socio-economy. In addition, the foreign aid also funded the building of hundreds of houses and communication works to raise public awareness of landmines./.
Xuan Hien/NPA-Project RENEW