Catholic Relief Services helps Vietnam enhancing UXO risk education

Apart from unexploded ordnance (UXO) detection and clearance, communications and education are also one of the importance pillars of the UXO settlement.
March 25, 2021 | 07:52
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Catholic Relief Services helps Vietnam enhancing explosive ordnance risk education
Representatives of the Vietnam National Mine Action Centre and the Catholic Relief Services Vietnam sign the MoU on March 23. Photo: mod.gov.vn

The Vietnam National Mine Action Centre (VNMAC) and the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Vietnam on March 23 inked a memorandum of understanding on enhancing explosive ordnance risk education, reported VNA.

Major General Tran Trung Hoa, Commander of the Engineering Arms of the Vietnam People’s Army and VNMAC General Director, said communications and education have received attention from the Government and involved ministries, sectors, central agencies, localities, as well as many international organisations.

According to VNMAC, there are about 800,000 tonnes of UXO left from wartime nationwide, with nearly 6.1 million ha of land contaminated or suspected to be contaminated, accounting for 18.71 percent of Vietnam’s total area.

Since 1975, UXO has killed more than 40,000 people and injured 60,000 others, most of whom are breadwinners of their families, ethnic minority people, and children.

The cleanup of wartime debris will likely continue for years. However, children and adults can be safe if they are educated about UXO risks and provided with guidance on what to do when they encounter explosive remnants of war around their homes and gardens, roadsides and schoolyards.

That’s where mine risk education plays an integral role – by educating children and adults, who must continue to live with the threat of UXO, about how they can live safely, how they can avoid accident and injury, how they can be part of the day-to-day solution to this problem.

Under the MoU, CRS Vietnam pledged to provide technical and financial aid for VNMAC to build a national strategy for UXO risk education and set up the national standards on the education and those on support for UXO victims.

This project, which will last through July 2024, will help improve VNMAC staff’s capacity and support related communications and education activities carried out by the centre.

CRS Vietnam will also assist VNMAC to access common information and further take part in events like workshops and training conferences of the international UXO settlement community.

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) was founded in 1943 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to assist the poor and disadvantaged overseas.

Much of CRS’ work centers around education — especially for those with disabilities — strengthening civil society for social inclusion of persons with disabilities, landmine risk education, assistance to landmine survivors, and disaster recovery and risk reduction.

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