|Some 800,000 tonnes of unexploded ordnances are scattered across 20 per cent of land in Việt Nam as a result of the wars. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has decided to establish a National Steering Committee on the Settlement of Post-war Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) and Toxic Chemical Consequences.
The committee has been formed on the foundation of the State Steering Committee for National Action Programme on the Settlement of Toxic Chemical Consequences.
It is tasked to study and submit to the PM measures to tackle important and inter-sectoral issues related to the settlement of bomb and mine and toxic chemical consequences, as well as measures to attract domestic and foreign aid in support of this work. It also helps build five-year and annual plans to implement the national action programme while coordinating the work between ministries, ministry-level offices and local people’s committees.
PM Phúc is the committee’s head and the deputy heads are Minister of Defence Ngô Xuân Lịch, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Trần Hồng Hà, Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Đào Ngọc Dung, and Minister and Head of the Government Office, Mai Tiến Dũng.
Its members include the deputy ministers of defence; natural resources and environment; labour, invalids and social affairs; and science and technology; as well as foreign affairs; health; public security; and planning and investment; along with finance; information and communications; justice; and a leader of the Việt Nam Union of Friendship Associations.
The committee’s standing office is located at the Ministry of Defence.
Between 1945 and 1975, more than 15 million tonnes of bombs and mines, four times the amount used in World War II, were dumped on Việt Nam. As a result, some 800,000 tonnes of UXOs are scattered across over 20 per cent of land nationwide, mainly in the central region. More than 100,000 people have become victims of UXOs.
Meanwhile, from 1961 to 1971, US troops sprayed more than 80 million litres of herbicides - 44 million litres of which were Agent Orange (AO), containing nearly 370kg of dioxin - on southern Việt Nam.
As a result, some 4.8 million Vietnamese were exposed to the toxic chemical. Many of the victims have died, while millions of their descendants are living with deformities and diseases as a direct result of the AO/dioxin effects. — VNS