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Old bombs limit progress

Update: December, 15/2012 - 10:36

 

Sappers deal with a bomb found in the Rach Dua Canal in the southern province of Bac Lieu's Gia Rai District. Many explosive devices still remain in the country despite a huge amount of funds spent on clearing bombs left from the war. — VNA/VNS Photo Huynh Su
HA NOI (VNS)— Even though the government has spent trillions of dong annually on clearing bombs left from the war, many explosive devices remain, said deputy minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Bui Hong Linh at a conference on this issue with international partners.

Although the task is challenging, the government is committed to working with partners to remove the explosive devices, he stressed.

The government has created many policies to address the problem, he said. However, confronting the issue head-on requires the country not only to mobilise its inner strength and international resources, but also to strengthen partnership relations.

Pratibha Mehta, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam, said people living in the areas polluted by the unexploded ordnances (UXO) did not dare to engage in farming and other production activities, limiting socio-economic development and poverty reduction.

These bombs must be removed in order for the country to make progress in terms of sustainable development, she said.

In Mehta's view, tightening partnership relations between the government, sponsors and international organisations and providing workers with proper guidance and resources would go a long way towards solving the problem.

Other priorities should be updating the database of affected areas and newly cleared areas and settling the consequences of bombs and mines, as well as continuing to educate people about the risks of unexploded ordnances, she said.

The programme needs to mobilize US$700 million to last until 2015 to continue clearing bombs, providing support to victims of bombs and mines and raising awareness about the dangers of these explosives, as well as creating maps of affected areas. — VNS

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