NEWS ROUNDUP April 2015

2015 April

April 30, 2015
The Greatest Danger in the World: America’s Vietnam War is Not Over

Here is the start of a long read on what life is like for many in the border region between central Vietnam and Laos. The killing continues:
We visited a number of the victims of unexploded ordnance and toxic herbicides, which brings home the human dimensions of suffering, misery and death that are the inevitable legacy of war. The primary causes of exploding war-era ordnance today are farmers working in their fields and scrap metal collectors. Scrap metal can earn a villager as much as $75 a year–a meaningful sum of money to the impoverished and one of the only sources of income available to them. Nguyen Xuan Thiet in Quang Tri Province made part of his annual income to support his family by collecting and selling scrap metal. More…

April 29, 2015
Sudan: Detonating UXO Kills Herder in Darfur’s East Jebel Marra

East Jebel Marra — A herder in East Jebel Marra, North Darfur, was killed on Tuesday when a piece of unexploded ordnance (UXO) detonated.
“Abdelhalim Omar Adam (21) was herding his camels in the area of Turbo, south of Dubo El Omda, when a war remnant exploded. He died instantly, together with two of his camels,” a witness told Radio Dabanga. The rest of this short story is at AllAfrica.com.

April 24, 2015
World War II bomb found at college detonated by military disposal unit in New Jersey

A World War II era bomb, found during a building project at Middlesex County College, was successfully detonated Thursday night by a military disposal team at Joint Base McGuire-Dix Lakehurst.
The discovery prompted college officials to order the evacuation of construction workers. However, classrooms and other campus facilities further from the scene were not included in the order. Read more from the Jersey Shore here.

April 24, 2015
Free school site has ‘credible’ explosives threat in UK

A free school says it is expecting to move “in the coming autumn” to a permanent site by an airport runway – despite an asbestos issue and a credible threat from unexploded Second World War mines.
But a study seen by Schools Week shows that the eight-acre site was part of former RAF Hurn from 1941. The airport was a bomb target during the war, with pipemines containing explosives laid on the airfield as a deterrent to German troops. Read more about this explosive learning environment at Schools Week UK.

April 16, 2015
Vietnam War shells found in Quang Tri farm

An ordnance clearance team in Quang Tri Province in central Vietnam on Wednesday collected five mortar and artillery shells left from the Vietnam War at a local farm.
The team of Peace Trees Vietnam, the first foreign organization signing up for removing unexploded ordnance in Vietnam, said the items could have exploded anytime if hit.
They were first found during a search for remains of soldiers killed in the war in the area. More at Thanh Nien News.

April 8, 2015
Ukraine: skirting mines to deliver for children in need

It is something I could not have imagined a year ago, but going to the conflict-affected territories of eastern Ukraine has become a regular part of my job. Recently I returned from one such mission, to Donetsk region. I believe the memories from the road will stay in my mind forever.
We set off for Donetsk on a Sunday morning. Our mission was driving in a convoy of UN armored vehicles. We passed the checkpoints fast, and as we were driving, I was told that we were heading to Debaltseve. When I heard it, the level of adrenaline in my blood rose significantly.
Read mroe about life in Ukraine these days over at UNICEF.

April 7, 2015
Cambodia – Mine, UXO Explosions Casualties Up in 2014

Both the number of accidents and casualties caused by old landmines and other unexploded ordnance (UXO) rose by nearly 40 percent last year, according to the latest government data, though the two figures were still the second lowest on record following years of progress in demining.
According to a year-end report from the government’s Cambodian Mine Action Authority (CMAA), 98 mine and UXO explosions caused 157 casualties in 2014. That included 21 people who died and 38 who had limbs amputated. More about this grim news at The Cambodia Daily.

April 6, 2015
ANAMA disarmed 77 UXOs and 12 mines last month in Azerbaijan

1 886 457 sq m area was inspected and cleared from mines and unexploded ordinances (UXO) in March, 2015.
Press service of the ANAMA told APA that 77 UXOs, 4 antitank and 8 antipersonnel mines were disarmed. A few more numbers from the Azerbaijan Press Agency.

April 4, 2015
Column: The deadly, horrible mess we made still plagues Indochina

April 30, 2015, marks the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. As we reflect on the legacies of the Vietnam War, two of the most deadly weapons of war left behind – Agent Orange and unexploded ordnance, called UXO – continue to haunt Indochina.
During the war, the U.S. military had used the powerful herbicide and defoliant Agent Orange to spray along the Ho Chi Minh trails in Laos and South Vietnam. Its purpose was to clear away jungle and eliminate Viet Cong hideouts, disrupting the movement of soldiers and food supplies. Years after the war, the people along the trail continue to suffer health maladies and dire consequences, including dioxin poisoning. The Vietnamese government says that dioxin levels remain 100 times higher than the international standards in some of these areas. The Merced Sun has the rest of the column here.

April 2, 2015
Reminder: Unexploded ordnance surveys seminar (UK)

Immediately following Seawork International 2015 in Southampton, The Hydrographic Society UK is to stage a one-day seminar and table-top exhibition at Southampton Solent University’s Conference Centre on Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) Surveys, on Friday 19 June.
For more information and links, click here.

April 1, 2015
It’s about ‘more than mines’ senior UN official says ahead of International Day of Action

As the world marks the tenth anniversary of the passing of the global mine ban treaty and commemorates International Mine Awareness Day, the head of the United Nations’ office dealing with the threat they pose stressed today the importance of looking beyond the effects of just anti-personnel mines.
Agnès Marcaillou, Director of the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), told reporters in New York the significance of the commemoration had expanded over the years and that now it was “mine awareness week” rather than just “mine awareness day.”
Unfortunately, the article from the UN doesn’t mention that the International Day of Action is April 4. Oh well.

April 1, 2015
Eleven-year-old girl wounded in wartime shell blast

Not an April Fools joke: An 11-year-old girl seriously injured in an explosion believed to be caused by a Vietnam War-time ordnance on Sunday is now in stable condition, doctors said. YMinh said she found a “metal ball” in the field, and when she threw it away the ball went off. More on the girl’s story at Thanh Nien News.

NEWS ROUNDUP December 2014

Dec2014News

December 21, 2014
UXO also found on Managaha (Marianas Islands)


AS a precautionary measure, the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality will be inviting an unexploded ordnance or UXO expert to assist in the Managaha drum cleanup project, BECQ Administrator Frank Rabauliman told Variety in an interview.
Since November, BECQ has been conducting a cleanup of buried drums and batteries on the famous tourist spot.
The discovery of mounds and buried drums was first reported by the Division of Fish and Wildlife and the Historical Preservation Office during a survey of the Shearwater bird breeding ground in 2010. More at Marianas Variety.

December 19, 2014
Japan and United States Clear Unexploded Ordnance in Laos


In the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, a large number of bombs dropped during the Indochina Wars still remain unexploded throughout the country, hindering the country’s economic and social development. Against this backdrop, Japan and the United States will contribute to clearing unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Laos and will keep each other informed of their progress as part of the Japan-U.S. cooperation for the clearance of landmines and UXO in Southeast Asia.
Specifically, Japan has decided to provide necessary assistance (e.g. support for personnel costs) of up to 705,242 U.S. dollars for the UXO clearance operations underway in Champasack and Saravane provinces in the southern part of Laos. The United States is also providing financial assistance for the UXO clearance operations in southern Laos. There is more to read from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

December 18, 2014
Workers hit bombs, bullets while building school in southern Vietnam


Workers in the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu have stopped building a primary school after stumbling upon a buried cache of war-era munitions.
Nguyen Van Vinh, head of the Project Management Department of Gia Rai District, said Wednesday that they have asked the province’s military to clear the area before resuming work.
A source from the Bac Lieu Military Command said they have collected a directional mine, numerous rifle bullets, and an 82-mm mortar round.
More to read about leftovers from the US war in SE Asia at Thanh Nien Daily.

December 17, 2014
U.S. Conventional Weapons Destruction Programs Reduce Threats from World War II-era Munitions


For more than 70 years, communities across the islands of the South Pacific have faced hidden hazards from buried and abandoned bombs, mortars, artillery shells, and unexploded ordnance dating back to World War II. Since 2009, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs has invested more than $5.6 million in support of conventional weapons destruction programs in the Pacific Islands.
Old and degrading munitions pose a safety hazard as well as an environmental challenge. U.S. efforts reduce the humanitarian impact of abandoned World War II-era munitions caches across the region by funding survey and clearance operations as well as training missions. More info available from the US Department of State.

December 17, 2014
UXO kills herder in Darfur’s East Jebel Marra


A young shepherd was killed, along with 17 of his sheep, in the area of Mashrou Abu Zeid, East Jebel Marra, in an explosion today.
“Early this (Wednesday) afternoon, we suddenly heard an explosion,” a listener told Radio Dabanga from Mashrou Abu Zeid. “When we arrived at the place, we found Mahjoub Suleiman Saleh (15) ripped to pieces, as well as 17 of his sheep.” Read more at the ever-interesting Radio Dabanga.

December 8, 2014
The European Union will provide up to EUR 60 million in grants to Laos in 2014-2015


The European Union (EU) has announced it has allocated up to EUR 60 million (KIP 60 billion, USD 75 million) to Laos under its bilateral cooperation programme over the period 2014-2015 to improve basic education and food and nutrition security and strengthen good governance as well as the rule of law and human rights.
The EU will also continue to assist Laos with the clearance of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO). Read the details at the EU website.

December 8, 2014
ANAMA demined 3.5 million square meters in November


3,542,127 sq m area was inspected and cleared of mines and unexploded ordinances (UXO) in Azerbaijan in November, 2014.
Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) told APA that 57 UXOs and an antitank mine were found and disarmed during the operations.
One mine/UXO accident was recorded in November. There’s a bit more to read from the Azeri Press Agency.

December 3, 2014
Unexploded ordnance endangers Jordan Valley residents

On Nov. 23, Ahmed al-Sheikh from the village of Bardala in the occupied Jordan Valley, near the Jordan River, was killed by an exploding mine left behind by the Israeli army following military maneuvers in the region. Sheikh was the head a family of five, his youngest son being only 5 years old.
Mahmoud Saleh Sawaftah (Abu Saed), the head of Bardala’s village council in Area C, told Al-Monitor that Sheikh was a shepherd and died of head and chest wounds when the mine detonated while he was trying to bury it, fearing for the safety of the children and other shepherds in the region.
The Israeli army holds periodic military exercises in the Jordan Valley involving the use of warplanes and live ammunition. Read more at the Al-Monitor.

December 1, 2014
Equipment, funding hamper cluster bomb cleanup efforts in Laos

Shortfalls in equipment and funding are the biggest challenges facing Laos as it struggles to remove the threat of unexploded ordnance (UXO) left from war decades past, state-run media Vientiane Times reported Monday.
The findings were among those released at the National Regulatory Authority for UXO (NRA) plenary meeting held in Vientiane. Read more at Global Post.

NEWS ROUNDUP August 2014

Aug2014News

August 29, 2014
Four children die in explosions

The coordinator of the Sirba camps for displaced people told Radio Dabanga from Manjura in Jebel Moon that Adam Nimeiri Haj (13 years), Abdo Mohamed (12 years), and Haitham Ishag Adam (11 years) were herding goats in the area on Wednesday. They found an unexploded ordnance (UXO), which detonated as they started playing with it, the coordinator explained. They were killed on the spot.
An explosion of a remnant of war on Tuesday killed one child and seriously wounded another in Drankola in Sirba locality. The camp coordinator explained that the incident occurred when the two children were letting their camels graze in the area. “The injured child was transferred to El Geneina hospital for treatment.”
Radio Dabanga has the rest of the story.

August 27, 2014
UXO Casualties Rising

The Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) has recorded a drastic increase in the number of deaths and injuries due to unexploded ordnance and landmines this year compared with 2013, the organisation has said.
Heng Ratana, director-general of CMAC, said yesterday that there had been 101 casualties in the first six months of 2014, compared with about 110 cases in the whole of last year. Read the rest of the story at The Phnom Penh Post.

August 25, 2014
Ho Chi Minh City sappers collect war-era bomb, shell

Sappers on Monday collected a Vietnam War 400 lb bomb and an artillery shell which were found last week in District 9, Ho Chi Minh City.
The bomb was found last Monday when local people were dredging the Mon canal. It measured 1.5 meter in length and 0.4 meters in diameter.
The 105 mm shell, weighing 50 kg, was found in a near by paddy field. See more at Thanh Nien News.

August 22, 2014
Unexploded Israeli ordnance creates more danger for Gazans

The explosion of a device in northern Gaza, while Palestinian experts were attempting to disable it on Aug. 13, led to the death of six individuals, including journalists, one of whom was an Italian reporter working for the Associated Press in the Gaza Strip.
Medhat al-Batash, a technical department official for the explosives engineering unit in Gaza, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Interior, said that the UXOs of the current war are more dangerous than in any previous war.Read more here.

August 16, 2014
Mission imprecision: the unexploded ordnance war

In September of 2006, Haaretz quoted the head of an Israeli Army rocket unit on his military’s performance during the recent 34-day war on Lebanon: “What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs.”
As the article explains, the United Nations estimated at the time that approximately 40 percent of cluster rounds fired by Israel had failed to explode. This is why, despite intensive and ongoing cleanup efforts by Lebanese and international organisations, we still continue to see headlines like: “18-year-old Lebanese killed by Israeli cluster bomb.”
The rest of the story is at Mideast Eye.

August 15, 2014
Couple fear for their lives as diggers move onto Killingworth field which may harbour unexploded bombs

A couple say they were left fearing for their lives after a digger began working in a field next door which could contain dozens of unexploded bombs.
Steve and Joanne Pattison, who live on the eastern edge of Killingworth Village, raised the alarm with police and North Tyneside District Council as they watched consultants for Bellway Homes carry out preliminary work at the Killingworth Stores site
But the house builder, which has applied for permission to construct 127 homes on the land, said the area was low risk and their consultant was carrying out minor channelling work to prove it.
ChronicleLive (UK) has more.

August 14, 2014
UXO blast kills two in central Vietnam

Two men were killed while trying to extract explosives from an unidentified item of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in the central province of Phu Yen on Wednesday.
The incident happened at around 9 a.m. when Vo Thang, 41, and Nguyen Tan An, 25, of Son Hoa District used a saw to cut the ordnance.
Local residents said they heard an explosion near a house of a park ranger in Son Hoi Hamlet which is located near the Da Chat Forest. Rushing to the site, they found the body parts of the duo.
The rest of the story is at Thanh Nien News.

August 14, 2014
In Pictures: Funeral of Gazan translator killed by Israeli UXO

Relatives and friends mourn over the body of Ali Shehada Abu Afash, a translator working with The Associated Press, during his funeral in Gaza City on 13 August.
Afash was killed in an ordnance explosion in the Gaza Strip, on Wednesday, together with Associated Press video-journalist Simone Camilli and three members of the Gaza police. Police said four other people were seriously injured, including AP photographer Hatem Moussa. See the photos at Mideast Eye.

August 13, 2014
Tragic deaths in Gaza are a reminder of a world full of unexploded bombs

An Italian videojournalist with the Associated Press, his interpreter and four Palestinians were killed in a string of explosions at an ordnance dump in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. As The Washington Post’s William Booth reports, Simone Camilli and Ali Shehda Abu Afash were filming a crew of Gazan police tasked with defusing the collected munitions. The assignment, for all involved, took a deadly, tragic turn.
Unexploded ordnance, the remnants of cluster bombs and fizzled rockets, have long been a danger in the Gaza Strip, which has endured repeated offensives by Israel over the past half decade. Six months after the end of Israel’s 2008-9 Operation Cast Lead, the United Nations reported that at least 12 civilians, including six children, had been killed during incidents related to unexploded ordnance, which the U.N. labels “UXO.”
The Washington Post has the rest of the story.

August 6, 2014
UXO Tour brings foreigners face to face with bombing devastation in Quang Tri

A group of backpackers panned their cameras across a remote commune in Quang Tri Province, clicking away, then turned to do the same to a pile of sandbags placed over a soon-to-be detonated piece of war-era ordnance.
Soon the group was whisked away to watch the climactic explosion set off by a foreign-funded de-mining team.
The Quang Tri UXO Tour has run for two years now as a partnership between the Norwegian-funded project RENEW and the Vietnam Backpackers Hostels, which now operates three hostels in Hanoi and Hue. Read the rest at Thanh Nien News.

August 3, 2014
World War One Shells Still Deadly and Dangerous

Artillery shells fired off in World War One and Two are still deadly. Detonation experts say shells from World War One along the French countryside could still explode — even one hundred years later.
As the Anniversary of the start of World War One is being remembered, there is a legacy from the war that lingers on even now.
Bomb clearance specialist Guy Momper states, “If you have a million shells falling — besides all those that fell after — the soil’s upheaval necessarily buried a large part of those which did not explode.” See more at the Net News Ledger.

August 1, 2014
Unexploded ordnance: Don’t touch it, report it

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – The 20th CBRNE Command’s senior enlisted leader has seen it: an unpinned hand grenade in a garage, practice bombs in a basement and an armed landmine on a mantle.
Command Sgt. Maj. Harold E. Dunn IV from 20th CBRNE Command (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives) said unexploded ordnance (UXO) is not only found on military proving grounds, training ranges and battlefields but also in residential, commercial and recreational areas.
Dunn said UXO can be found just about anywhere.
Read more at DVIDS.

August 1, 2014
Laos’ hard work reduces number of UXO victims

Great efforts made by the Lao Government together with international support have helped reduced the number of victims of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in the country to just 56 last year from the previous 300 each year.
The positive result was reported at a ceremony in Vientiane on August 1 to mark the 4th anniversary of the Convention on Cluster Munitions taking effect.
Chairman of the Lao National Regulatory Authority for UXO/Mine Action Sector and Minister to the Government Office Bounheuang Douangphachanh also revealed that during 10 months from September 2013 to June this year, relevant forces in the country removed more than 72,000 items of UXO, including nearly 44,000 cluster bombs. More to read at talkvietnam.com.