NEWS ROUNDUP May 2014

May2014News

May 28, 2014
Vietnam eager to spur wide-ranging cooperation with US on UXO and other issues

(Among other things,) In addition, Dung asked the US to increase cooperation and provide more support for Vietnam to help it deal with post-war consequences of mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) as well as Agent Orange (AO), adding that Vietnam is ready to cooperate with the US in ecological environment protection. Read the full diplomatic story at Vietnam Net.

May 26, 2014
One Dead, 5 Hurt in Kompong Thom, Cambodia, UXO Blast

An elderly woman was killed and five others injured by an old B-40 rocket that exploded in Kompong Thom province on Friday when one of the victims attempted to dismantle it for scrap metal, according to local officials.
Sim Tam, 78, who was sitting near the rocket when it exploded, was hit with shrapnel from the device and died from her wounds on the way to the local hospital, said Brigadier General Hang Thol, provincial military police commander. Read more about Cambodia’s UXO problem at The Cambodia Daily and The Phnom Penh Post.

May 26, 2014
For Vietnam, leftover American bombs mean the war has never ended

Nguyen Van Thi is a farmer, not a soldier, but with his missing limbs and severe burn scars, he epitomizes the brutal and ongoing aftermath of the Vietnam War.
Thi, 45, found a small explosive while tending to his crops back in 1999. Not knowing what it was, he picked up the device, brushed off the dirt and tapped it with his hoe.
It blew off his left hand. GlobalPost has the rest of the story.

May 25, 2014
Civilian Landmine Team Deploys to Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina To Support Local Efforts in Landmine-Contaminated Areas Affected by Widespread Flooding

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs’ Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement is deploying the Quick Reaction Force (QRF), a group of civilian explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) experts, to Serbia, as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The QRF will arrive May 26 and work with local officials of both the Serbian and BiH Mine Action Centers to survey landmine-contaminated areas affected by the recent widespread floods.
Heavy rains in the Balkans have caused widespread flooding that has led to the possible shifting and uncovering of some of the 120,000 landmines remaining from the 1992-1995 conflict associated with the break-up of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The flood waters also may have washed away many of the markers delineating the minefields. Read more at the Imperial Valley News.

May 13, 2014
Military destroys over 300 war-era bomblets in central Vietnam

More than 300 unexploded bomblets from a Vietnam War-era cluster bomb were collected and destroyed in the central province of Nghe An, VnExpress reported.
The site quoted Quynh Luu District’s military headquarters as saying that the bomblets were spread out over roughly 100 square meters in Quynh Thang Commune.
Local agencies say that the unexploded 50mm bomblets came from a cluster bomb that the US military dropped during the Vietnam War. From Thanh Nien News.

May 12, 2014
Disabled ambassador works to inspire UXO victims in Vietnam

A farmer in central Vietnam who lost his hand in a bomb explosion almost four decades ago is now an international ambassador working to raise awareness of the consequences of explosive remnants.
Pham Quy Thi, 59, is informally called the ‘one handed ambassador’ and has travelled to 30 nations around the world to give lectures and raise awareness in communities of the consequences of explosives left from the U.S. war in Vietnam. Get the rest at Tuoi Tre News.

May 6, 2014
Azerbaijan establishes special group for searching and disarming underwater mines

Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) will establish a special group for searching and disarming underwater mines and unexploded ordinances (UXO), chief operation expert of ANAMA Adil Aslanov told APA.
Aslanov said that mines and UXOs are regularly found in water basins, lakes and canals in Azerbaijan. Read more at APA.

May 6, 2014
NGOs continue to push UXO clearance in Quang Tri

Quang Tri Province in Vietnam’s central region is green again thanks to international NGOs who have made a tremendous push toward clearing war-era bombs and mines in recent years.
There’s still a long way to go, however.
Around 400,000 pieces of unexploded ordnance (UXO) are believed to remain buried across 480,000 hectares of land in Quang Tri.
UXO can be found in residential areas, gardens and even under the floors of houses. See more of the story at Thanh Nien News.

May 5, 2014
Due South Brewing Company UXO American Strong Ale

The UXO pays homage to the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technicians that have served in the US Military and “UXO is a term EOD Techs use meaning unexploded ordnance”. Due South founder and head brewer, Mike Halker, is a former EOD Tech himself and a portion of the proceeds will go to the EOD Warrior Foundation. Drink the full story in at Wine Compass.

May 2, 2014
Shoebury: Unexploded Bombs Close Beach

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has decided to temporarily close Shoebury East Beach.
The decision, taken in consultation with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), has been made after a number of recent discoveries of unexploded ordnance (UXO) on and near to East Beach and on neighbouring prohibited MOD foreshore.
Whilst the beach is closed, the MOD, who own the foreshore but license it to the council, are carrying out a survey of the area to assess the exact risk and potential number of UXO’s in that area. More on the news from Great Britain at heart.co.uk

May 1, 2014
Grenade kills two in Darfur’s Jebel Marra

Two girls were killed when a grenade detonated in Jebel Marra on Thursday.
One of the relatives of the girls told Radio Dabanga that Asma Ishag Adam (7) and Najwa Eisa Yahya (6) found the grenade this afternoon in the area of Dirbat.
“They picked it up and started playing with it, upon which the grenade exploded. They were killed instantly.” More at Radio Dabanga.

NEWS ROUNDUP February 2014

Feb2014News

2/27/2014
Little help for UXO victims in Laos

Around 25 percent of villages in Laos are contaminated by unexploded ordnance (UXOs), mainly from US bombing missions between 1964 and 1973, according to the Lao National Unexploded Ordnance Programme, and while UXO casualties have fallen sharply in recent years there is little support for UXO victims, whose injuries can drastically affect their families. IRIN has the story.

2/24/2014
RWE Calls in Bomb Squad

Three pieces of unexploded ordnance have been discovered at the construction site of RWE’s 576MW Gwynt y Mor offshore wind farm off Wales.
The developer is preparing to remove the objects, referred to as UXO, from the seabed in Liverpool Bay and construction work is continuing. More at RENews.

2/24/2014
Disarmco Turns to Crowdfunding After Risk-Averse Investors Reject Life-Saving Technology.

With more than 120m landmines stored and deployed in places of conflict and post-conflict around the world and 20,000 victims of landmines every year, a British company is set to tackle the problem head on with its pyrotechnic torch technology after raising funds on equity crowdfunding platform Crowdcube.
Formed in 2012, Disarmco, raised almost £150,000 against its original £120,000 target and attracted 126 investors, turned to crowdfunding after its earlier efforts to attract investors through more traditional means failed. Read more Here.

2/21/2014
Unexploded ordnance found, disposed of in San Pedro Conservation area

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers found two pieces of unexploded ordnance (UXO) during the closure of two sites within the San Pedro National Conservation area. According to a BLM release the areas had been closed since November 2013 for an investigation and study, the sites were formerly used by the U.S. military and located outside Ft. Huachuca. Via TucsonNewsNow.com

2/20/2014
Have You Ever Dropped A Glass On The Floor And It Did Not Break?

Two-and-a-half years after the fall of the Gaddafi regime, Libya continues to suffer from a wide proliferation of explosive items and small arms that threaten civilians.
Amongst those most at risk of coming into contact with landmines, arms and ammunition left behind after fighting are curious children, people wanting to protect themselves, and scrap collectors looking to make a living. Thompson-Reuters has More.

2/13/2014
Landmine, Unexploded Ordnance Deaths Drop by Half in 2013

Deaths from landmines and other unexploded ordnance (UXO) dropped by nearly half from 43 in 2012 to 22 last year, according to the government’s latest casualty figures, the largest drop in recent years.
Total casualties also dropped 40 percent over the same period, from 186 in 2012 to 111 last year, according to the last monthly casualty report for 2013 from the Cambodian Mine Action Authority. Read more at The Cambodia Daily.

2/12/2014
U.S. to Increase UXO Support for Laos

The U.S. government will increase assistance to Laos’ unexploded ordnance (UXO) sector, local press reported Wednesday.
How much of an increase is still being considered but there will be no decrease of support for Laos’ work in surveying, clearing, assisting victims and raising awareness of UXO, U.S. ambassador to Laos Daniel Clune was quoted by state-run daily Vientiane Times as saying. Read more at Chihan.com.

 

2/2/2014
Unexploded munitions a threat in Sudan’s Darfur

From aircraft bombs to cluster munitions and grenades, the Ordnance Disposal Office of the international peacekeeping force in Sudan’s war-torn Darfur has found and destroyed them all. Read the full story from The Times of India here.

 

NEWS ROUNDUP December 2013

Dec2013News

12/13/13

Kids Mistake Cluster Munition for Petanque Ball 

As reposted on the Legacies of War Facebook Page: Two children were killed in Saravanne Province on December 13. “Local authorities said that the explosion occurred when the boys used a device they found in the forest as a boule in a game of petanque.” Link to original article here.

 12/03/13
Canada Committee Passes Amended Cluster Munition Bill

After much debate, Canada’s Commons foreign affairs committee removed one word from the bill to ratify the country’s participation in a ban on cluster munitions, according to iPolitics. The contested bill would allow Canadian forces to help allies in using cluster munitions while on joint operations with countries that haven’t signed the ban – notably the United States. Read more here.

12/03/13
Cluster Bomb Ban Saves Thousands of Lives, Coalition Says

Five years ago today, the Convention on Cluster Munitions was signed in Oslo, setting the path toward a global ban on “bombies.” More than half the world’s countries have since joined (the United States has not). The ban prohibits the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of these weapons, which pose some of the greatest threats to post-war societies where they were used. There are many varieties of cluster bombs. One of the most common designs used in Laos was a large casing filled with hundreds of baseball-sized bombies. The casing opened in mid-air and the bombies scattered across the land. Millions remain in the soil today. They look like toys or rocks. They can blow when struck with a farmer’s hoe. A single bombie can kill anything within 30 meters. For more information on what’s happened since the Convention was signed, read today’s report from the Cluster Munition Coalition.

 

 

 

From the Book – Meeting Bich, 10, UXO Accident Survivor

Bich in the Hospital
Bich in the hospital, for the second time

UXO accidents have killed and injured more than 20,000 Laotians since the end of war in 1975. This is an excerpt from the book Eternal Harvest

————-

We meet a young boy named Bich in the Phonsavanh hospital. Part of his face is blasted off, and his arm is fractured.

“He went to plow the field and he hit something. We don’t know what,” his mother, Man, tells us in tears. “I heard the explosion and some people came to get me.”

She knew about UXO, about the dangers in the dirt, but what can her family do? They have to grow food. She has seven children to feed. “I worry about the others. It’s very difficult because we cannot see the UXO,” she says.

Bombs hide in the earth that people tread and dig and plant and reap every year. Some weeks, a nurse tells us, the hospital gets two or three UXO victims; other weeks, it gets none. Most victims who come to the hospital survive. But many never make it that far. They die at home or in the field or forest where the accident occurs.

Bich’s story is hardly unusual, but it is not widely known in the country that likely made the bomb that hurt him. To this day, Laotians continue to die while playing in their yards, plowing their fields, tending their cattle. As villagers clear new land for planting, buried bombs explode. When farmers light their fields afire, shrapnel sometimes rains upon nearby roofs. At times, Laos still sounds like a country at war. This story has an even bleaker side.

As the global price of metal creeps upward, villagers gamble their lives on the chance to unearth valuable scrap. This is a country in which most people earn just a few dollars a day. And most people farm. But in some parts of Laos, the earth holds a profitable crop, sown long ago in war. While some dig with hopes of making money, others dig with hopes of securing safer land. Every day, bomb disposal teams scour the terrain, staking rows of string to the ground and slowly walking the grid with metal detectors. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth—it’s a meticulous job that can take days, even weeks, to cover an acre.

At any given time, twelve companies and humanitarian organizations have teams in the field, scattered across the country, looking for bombs. When a technician gets a signal, the spot is marked and later investigated by hand. Someone has to dig down and backward, slowly inching toward the source of the signal without making any sudden, harsh moves that could jolt a piece of ordnance and cause it to explode. Most signals end with a rusty nail or a twisted piece of bomb casing. But sometimes the team unearths a bomb, still armed, still ready to blow.

It could take decades, even centuries, to clear all the munitions. That is life. That is history—of the United States, of Laos, of the never-ending war between the two.

NEWS ROUNDUP September 2013

September2013

9/28/13
UXO Accident

“On September 28, 2013, in Sepon District of Savannakhet, a 55-year old man was working in the field and started a fire to keep warm when a blast went off. The fire had unearthed a UXO, which exploded causing injury to his body and tore off his right wrist. He was initially treated at his village and was transferred to a provincial hospital, where he continues to receive medical care and follow up services.” – Via Legacies of War.