Vietnam province promised $51.8 mln to overcome war legacy

By Hoang Tao   October 3, 2020 | 03:00 am PT
Vietnam province promised $51.8 mln to overcome war legacy
Member of a team formed by the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) to detect and remove unexploded ordnances in Quang Tri Province, central Vietnam, October 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Tao.
Six international organizations have agreed to sponsor Quang Tri Province $51.8 million to remove bombs left from the Vietnam War and support local communities.

The non-refundable aid will be used in five years for the central province to detect and remove unexploded ordnances and overcome other war legacies, including projects for medical care and education development, and those to support the disabled.

The six organizations include Mines Advisory Group (MAG), a non-governmental organization that assists those affected by landmines, unexploded ordnances, small arms and light weapons based in the U.K., PeaceTrees Vietnam, an NGO based in the U.S. that works to remove explosives and return land to productive, sustainable use, build schools and libraries to educate future generations, and advance economic development particularly for Vietnam.

Among others, Plan International is an independent development and humanitarian organization headquartered in the U.K. that works in Africa, the Americas, and Asia to advance children’s rights and equality for girls, Taiwan-based Zhi-Shan Foundation is dedicated to child development across Asia, while Project Vietnam Foundation, a non-profit program of the American Academy of Pediatrics, provides hygiene, medical and educational facilities in Vietnam, and Medipeace is a leading South Korean global health NGO.

The fund was secured at a conference held Friday in Quang Tri’s Dong Ha District.

Hoang Nam, the provincial vice chairman, said the aid "is extremely important and carries profound humane value."

In the context of a limited budget, financial support from international friends have helped Quang Tri deal with war legacies and focus on economic development in recent years, he said.

Between 2014 and 2019, the province had attracted $100 million in foreign non-governmental aid, receiving an average of 38 new projects a year.

It has cooperated with 67 foreign NGOs and international organizations from countries like Ireland, South Korea, the U.K. and the U.S.

Quang Tri was the stage of the Tet Offensive in 1968 and the Easter Offensive in 1972.

A total 391,000 hectares of provincial land, accounting for 83.3 percent of its total area, remains infested with mines and other explosives from the war, according to official statistics.

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

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