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 February 2015

2015 Feb

February 25
UXO Casualties Highlighted on Mine Awareness Day


In a statement released Tuesday to mark Cambodia’s 16th National Mine Awareness Day, Prime Minister Hun Sen warns all Cambodians to be vigilant of an increase in anti-tank mine casualties.
“Mines and UXOs left by the legacy of the Indochina war and internal conflict in Cambodia for three decades not only caused serious tragedy for our people’s lives but also created obstacles to restoring and developing families’ livelihoods,” the statement says. A little more from Cambodia here.

February 24, 2015
Australian fisherman reels in German WWI grenade


Unusual Find – About 2am this morning, Tuesday 24 February 2015, a man fishing off the Applecross Jetty pulled in what appeared to be an unexploded ordnance. Police attended and cordoned off the area and advised the Bomb Response Unit. A little bit more on this odd story from the UPI here.

February 11, 2015
Clearance group finds bombies in southern Laos


The UXO clearance team sponsored by the NGO We Help War Victims found cluster bomblets on a hillside in Laos. Jim Harris, founder of WHWV – and a main character in the book Eternal Harvest – explains why these particular pieces of ordnance have been associated with child fatalities. Do watch the video and see what clearance work looks like: Bombies on Hillside.

February 11, 2015
Borno (Nigeria):147 Unexploded Bombs Recovered


Borno State police command said it recovered 147 cluster bombs in Auno village of Kondunga local government area of the state.
A police commissioner said a combined team of bomb disposal unit, policemen and troops sighted the explosives, recovered and destroyed them in good time without any injury or damage to lives or property. There is a little more on this mysterious story at the National Mirror Online.

February 8, 2015
Unexploded Ordnance Kills Three Herders in Darfur’s East Jebel Marra

Three herders were killed when a piece of unexploded ordnance (UXO) detonated in East Jebel Marra today. A listener told Dabanga that Hamdan Eisa Sa’adallah, Jaber Ahmed Saleh, and Bahreldin Yagoun Hamed were killed, together with five of their camels, in the area of from Saouda, when the explosion occurred*.
He said that the blast was very strong, and “could be heard from far away”. There is just a bit more on this sadly common story from Darfur at All Africa.

February 6, 2015
UXO death: Man killed, wife injured by landmine

An unexploded landmine in Tbong Khmum province’s Memot district killed a man digging soil about a kilometre away from his home in Choam Kravien commune’s Thmor Tadok village yesterday morning.
The explosion killed Chan Y, 33, and injured his wife, Ak Sophat, 24, who was also there at the time, said Den Rithy, Choam Kravien commune police chief. Sophat suffered a slight injury to her hips, he added. To read more from Cambodia’s latest province, check out the Phnom Penh Post.

February 4, 2015
Viengxay caves, Laos: where thousands hid from American bombs

In its attempt to stop the communists in Northern Vietnam and Laos gaining ground, the US dropped more bombs on Laos between 1964-73 than has happened anywhere else on earth.
At the beginning of the onslaught just over 50 years ago, Kaysone Phomvihane, head of the Laos communist movement, led his politburo to shelter in what became known as the ‘City of Victory’, hidden in craggy mountains near the Vietnam border.
Today, it is hard to imagine sleepy Viengxay, with its lakes, ladies who lunch and manicured floral borders, under constant bombardment. The rest of this (somewhat incomplete) travel story is over at The Telegraph.

February 2, 2015
Unexploded ordinance a hazard to offshore construction says consultancy

Developers, utilities and asset owners are failing to take account of the risks posed by munitions moving from their recorded positions during the operations and maintenance phases of their projects. That is according to specialist offshore risk consultancy, 6 Alpha Associates.
Prior to installation work, where there is a high risk of encountering unexploded ordnance (UXO), it is common to undertake a specialist geophysical survey to detect it. Unfortunately, the seabed is often littered with debris, much of which can be confused with UXO. The costs of investigating each and every geophysical survey anomaly that resembles UXO (some of which might be, but the vast majority of which will not), is prohibitively expensive. More on this story from the North Sea at Windpower Engineering & Development.

February 1, 2015
Girl Killed by UXO Explosion in Kompong Speu

An 8-year-old girl was killed after a 60-millimetre rocket left over from the government’s fight with the Khmer Rouge exploded in a rice field in Kampong Speu province’s Oral district on Sunday afternoon, the victim’s family and authorities said.
Yong Kea, the mother of Yem Keayi, said that on Sunday morning, a fire broke out at a dam in Trapaing Chor commune. She and her husband went to extinguish the blaze so it wouldn’t damage their rice fields. Their daughter tagged along.
While they tried to put out the flames, they were distracted and didn’t see that Yem was also attempting to help by using a small branch. The rest of this story is at The Cambodia Daily and the Phnom Penh Post.

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.