Flooding washes up Vietnam War bombs, grenades

By Hoang Tao   October 29, 2020 | 04:58 pm PT
Flooding washes up Vietnam War bombs, grenades
Bomb disposal experts approach a MK82 bomb unearthed by recent floods in Quang Tri Province, October 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quang Ha.
Seven bombs and nine grenades left over from the Vietnam War have been washed up in Quang Tri Province.

The unexploded ordnances were washed up by the severe flooding that central Vietnam has suffered for almost a month now.

PeaceTrees Vietnam, an NGO based in the U.S. that works to remove leftover explosives, said Thursday that five of the bombs, the highly destructive MK82 made and used by the U.S. during the war, and the nine 105-mm grenades have been taken to demolition site for disposal. Experts are looking for ways to approach the remaining two MK82 bombs as local roads have been severely eroded.

One bomb was unearthed by erosion while the remaining were thrown up by mountain landslides, PeaceTrees Vietnam said Thursday.

In nearby Ha Tinh Province, a 450-kg wartime bomb that emerged from the soil following floods and erosion in was removed on Tuesday by the army.

Quang Tri and Ha Tinh are among localities hit by prolonged heavy rains, historic flooding and landslides between October 6 and 25, which left at least 130 people dead. The disasters were before Storm Molave hit and triggered more floods and deadly landslides in nearby provinces the past two days.

While the Vietnam War ended more than 40 years ago, around 800,000 tons of UXO remain scattered across the country, according to government data.

Quang Tri was one of the main battlegrounds during the war as the stage for the Tet Offensive in 1968 and the Easter Offensive in 1972.

An estimated 391,000 hectares of land, accounting for 83.3 percent of the province’s total area, is still infested by mines and other explosives from the war.

According to Quang Tri's Legacy of War Coordination Center, UXOs have hurt 8,540 people in the province since 1975, with 3,431 fatalities. Many of the victims were collecting scrap when the explosives detonated.

Six international organizations have pledged assistance worth $51.8 million to remove bombs left in the province and support local communities.

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