NEWS ROUNDUP January 2015

2015 Jan

January 31, 2015
Laos: Thousands suffering from the deadly aftermath of US bomb campaign


“If I had arrived 15 minutes later at the hospital, I would have died. I underwent 12 blood transfusions in order to survive.” Sitting in the living room of her wooden stilt house, 39-year-old Buan Kham slowly lifted her skirt to expose what remains of her right leg, amputated at the knee. “If I hadn’t gone to the capital, Vientiane, I would have lost both,” she added, caressing the deep scars running along her left thigh.
Less than a year ago Kham, from the rural village of Na Dee, became one of the 20,000 victims of unexploded ordnance (UXO). The weapons are a lethal legacy of the Vietnam war, which turned this poor, landlocked south-east Asia nation of 6 million into the most bombed country per capita in the world.
More on this story at The Guardian and much more here on Eternal Harvest.

January 29, 2015
Afghans live in peril among unexploded Nato bombs that litter countryside


International troops pulling out of Afghanistan have left behind a lethal legacy of unexploded bombs and shells that are killing and maiming people at a rate of more than one a day. The vast majority are children.
Bombs dropped from the air coupled with munitions left behind in makeshift firing ranges in rural Afghanistan have made parts of the countryside perilous for locals who are used to working the land for subsistence and raw materials.
Since 2001, the coalition has dropped about 20,000 tonnes of ammunition over Afghanistan. Experts say about 10% of munitions do not detonate: some malfunction, others land on sandy ground. Foreign soldiers have also used valleys, fields and dry riverbeds as firing ranges and left them peppered with undetonated ammunition. Read more about this deadly legacy at The Guardian, The Russia Times, and News Everyday.

January 28, 2015
Minor Injured by Israeli UXO in Jordan Valley


Head of al-Maleh village council, Aref Daraghmeh, told WAFA correspondence that 15-year-old Ali Ilyan sustained injuries from the shrapnel of a remnant Israeli bomb, necessitating his transfer to hospital for treatment.
According to al-Monitor website, “The Israeli army holds periodic military exercises in the Jordan Valley involving the use of warplanes and live ammunition.”
It said that the number of those killed by Israel’s unexploded ordnance in the Jordan Valley has reached three since the beginning of 2014. More at The International Middle East Media Center.

January 27, 2015
Unexploded military ordnance detonates, critically injures two El Paso women


Unexploded military ordnance detonated Saturday afternoon near Chaparral, critically injuring two El Paso women who were looking for scrap metal, officials said.
The Otero County Sheriff’s Office said the ordnance went off about 1 p.m. near Landing Stripin Road just west of U.S. Highway 54.
The kind of ordnance that exploded was not identified. The rest of the story is at The Alamogordo Daily News and The El Paso Times.

January 27, 2015
UK offshore ‘underplays UXO risk’


Developers, utilities and asset owners are failing to take account of the risks posed by munitions moving from their recorded positions during the operation and maintenance phase of offshore wind projects, warns 6 Alpha Associates.
The consultancy said that prior to installation work, where there is a high risk of encountering unexploded ordnance (UXO), it is common to carry out a specialist geophysical survey to detect it.
However, the seabed is often littered with debris that can be mistaken for UXO and the cost of investigating each and every anomaly is prohibitively expensive. Any anomalies that turn out to be UXO and slip through the net may shift on the seabed due to wave and tidal processes and in some cases human activities, such as fishing. Read more on this hazard to offshore wind farms here at ReNews.

January 24, 2015
From the Front: Kuchis


Kuchis (koo-cheez) are Afghan nomads. Poorer and outcast, they are the bottom of the Afghan barrel. They do some pretty extreme stuff to survive.
When insurgents fire rockets at us (a daily event), some of them land outside our base without exploding. This creates an are of UXO (unexploded ordnance). A UXO area is a wasteland of explosives. We mark it with the bright orange streamers and cordon it off with razor wire.
Because the unexploded rockets are metal and metal has value, there is incentive to harvest the metal as scrap. Enter the Kuchis. If their trip into the UXO area goes well, they return with metal they can sell. If their trip doesn’t go well… You can read the rest of this short dispatch from Afghanistan at the Pryor Daily Times.

January 23, 2015
Army bomb squad disposes of Georgetown cannon ball


U.S. Army bomb squad Soldiers disposed of a cannon ball that was found in a Georgetown townhouse’s chimney here Jan. 21.
Soldiers from the 55th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company responded to the unexploded ordnance discovery at the 1890s townhouse in this historic neighbor in the nation’s capital. Read more here … and a more interesting read on the same topic from The Daily Mail.

January 12, 2015
Bullsbrook bushfire: wind change may push fire to high-fuel load area


A wind change could push a bushfire 40 kilometres north-east of Perth towards a high-fuel load area, authorities warn. The fire has been downgraded to a watch and act and is now contained and under control but authorities are warning the wind change could see it break containment lines.
Mr Gale said firefighters had focussed on area with unexploded ordnance (UXO) on Royal Australian Air Force land on Monday. Read more on fire and UXO in Australia at ABC.net.

January 11, 2015
Uxo Kills Three in East Jebel Marra, Thousands Without Aid in North Darfur


Three people were killed when unexploded ordnance detonated near Mashrou Abu Zeid in East Jebel Marra today. Thousands of newly displaced villagers from East Jebel Marra, who reached Shangil Tobaya and Tabit in Tawila locality, North Darfur, are living in the open, without water, food, or shelter. “At a distance of seven km east of Mashrou Abu Zeid, Abdelmalek Ishag Adam, Musa Yahya Yagoub, and Hawa Eisa were killed, as well as the donkeys they were riding,” a man from the group they were travelling with, told Dabanga.
“Suddenly we heard and felt a loud explosion, and saw them been torn to pieces,” he said. “It must have been a landmine, or an unexploded bomb, they stepped on.” Learn more at AllAfrica.com.

January 9, 2015
ANAMA neutralizes 76 UXOs in December


Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action has detected and neutralized 76 unexploded ordnance (UXO), as well as mines including 17 anti-personnel devices and one anti-tank mine during last December, ANAMA said.
Some 484 deminers and 118 support staff, six mechanical demining machines and 36 dogs involved in demining operations.
So far, the agency cleared over 278 million square meters from the UXOs and mines in the country, as well as detected and neutralized about 690 thousand unexploded mines and ammunition. The rest of the story is at AzerNews.

January 6, 2015
Afghanistan seeks NATO info on unexploded ordnance


Afghanistan has called on US-led foreign forces to hand over more information about their unexploded ordnance (UXO) across the war-torn country. Mohammad Sediq Rashid, the director of the Mine Action Coordination Center for Afghanistan (MACCA), said Tuesday that the information would save lives.
“They used weapons and they know that unexploded ordnance (UXO) will be left behind. This information is life-saving,” said Rashid.
Rashid added that Afghan authorities have raised the issue with NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF); but, so far, there has been no action. He warned that if the US-led forces do not provide Afghans with more required coordinates and locations, lots of people, especially children, will lose their lives. Read more about how wars don’t end when the fighting stops at PressTV.

January 6, 2015
Unexploded munitions a lingering peril as NATO ends Afghan war


The end of NATO’s combat mission in Afghanistan could be a watershed moment in tackling unexploded ordnance littering the country, but experts complain US-led forces need to hand over more information on where it all is.
Decades of conflict since the Soviet invasion in 1979 have left landmines, shells, bombs and rockets scattered across towns, villages and fields, even after extensive clearance efforts that have safely removed millions of items. More on the story over at The Daily Mail.

January 6, 2015
Vietnam War’s deadly legacy continues to haunt Laos


Laos is the most heavily bombed country per capita in history. The United States dropped around two million tonnes of bombs on the country from 600,000 bombing missions during the Vietnam War more than four decades ago.
But many of these bombs failed to detonate. And these unexploded ordnance continue to kill and maim as many as 100 people per year in Laos. Laos is labelled as the “most heavily bombed country, per capita, in the world” – with more bombs falling on it than Europe had during World War II. And by some estimates, up to 30 per cent of the explosives failed to detonate. More on the story both here at Eternal Harvest and over at ChannelNewsAsia.com.

January 5, 2015
JICA’s Efforts to Remove UXO in Cambodia and Laos


Landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) remain in the ground long after a conflict has come to a close, threatening the lives and wellbeing of people and impeding agricultural and economic development. The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has provided aid in Cambodia for many years to remove landmines and is now drawing on this experience in developing similar programs in neighboring Laos. JICA has more on their work in SE Asia at their website.

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.