NEWS ROUNDUP May 2015

2015 May

31 May, 2015
Boy Dies As UXO Detonates in East Jebel Marra, Darfur


A young herder (10) from Taradona village in East Jebel Marra was killed today, when a piece of unexploded ordnance (UXO) detonated. A relative of Ayman Suleiman Musa told Radio Dabanga that the incident occurred in the area between Taradona and Khazan Tunjur this (Sunday) afternoon. There is just a little bit more here from AllAfrica.com.

24 May, 2015
Japan: Please Return Our War Dead Home


Over the years, remains of Japanese soldiers found on Guadalcanal, Western Province, and parts of Central Province were retrieved and returned to Japan for proper burials. An official of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said thousands more are still lying here and in other countries of the Pacific such as Papua New Guinea, Micronesia, and Palau. Pacific leaders responded to the request by expressing their willingness to provide all possible support to assist Japan in their recovery efforts.
They also welcomed an initiative from the Japanese government to undertake the safe removal and clearance of World War II unexploded ordnance (UXO). Thousands of UXO are lying under the waters and on soils in Solomon Islands.
You can read a little bit more here.

May 22, 2015
Cambodian Underwater Mine Team Finds Success


When 42-year-old fisherman Yor Dieb snagged his net on an object just meters from the Mekong River bank here, he had little choice but to dive down and untangle it by hand.
The net had wrapped itself on the tail of a live 227-kilogram bomb, a relic of the 1970-1975 civil war when the United States dropped hundreds of thousands of tons on Cambodia, a so-called “sideshow” to its battle in neighboring Vietnam.
There wasn’t much Yor could do – until late last month, when a specialist in demining came to his village 30 kilometers southeast of Phnom Penh, asking whether residents had found unexploded ordnance, or UXO, in the river. Yor told them he had, and on Thursday, Cambodia’s newly trained UXO dive team from the government’s Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) dived the 6 meters, extracted the Mk-82 bomb from the Mekong’s murky depths, brought it ashore and defused it. You can see, read and listen to the rest of this interesting story on underwater demining in Cambodia at VOA, The Guardian, Huffington Post and RFI.

May 18, 2015
Vietnam signs UXO clearance aid pack with U.S. mine advisory group

Big News!
Vietnam’s central Quang Tri Province and the Mine Advisory Group (MAG) of the United States on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to carry out an unexploded ordnance (UXO) clearance project in the province between 2015 and 2017.
According to the MoU, the U.S. State Department has pledged to sponsor 10 million U.S. dollars in aid for the province to disarm UXO left over from the war in Vietnam.
The project aims to reduce the risks of injuries caused by UXO while clearing contaminated areas and improving local livelihoods, reported Vietnam’s state-run news agency VNA.
That said, the US is spending nearly as much in this one province in Vietnam as in all of next-door Laos. You can read the rest of the story at the Shanghai Daily. And/or in VietNam Net.

May 15, 2015
Canadian Forces clearance divers in Estonia to dispose of munitions from Second World War

Operation OPEN SPIRIT is an annual, combined and joint Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) clearance operation conducted in the spirit of Partnership for Peace and hosted on a rotational basis by one of three Baltic State NATO members: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The CAF contingent consists of 14 clearance divers and support personnel based out of Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic) from Canadian Forces Base Halifax in Halifax, Nova Scotia. More a series of bullet points than a story – read the rest from the Ottawa Citizen here.

May 14, 2015
UXO have economic and social impacts, says Rabuka

The Unexploded Ordinance has posed an economic and social impact to the lives of people in the Solomon Islands.
A representative from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) highlighted this during the launching of the WW2 photographic exhibition at the National Art Gallery on Wednesday.
Sakiusa Rabuka said, this has caused the slow progress of development in the country. Read more about WWII-era UXO in this Pacific island nation here.

May 14, 2015
The Hydrographic Society UXO Survey Seminar

It’s an underwater UXO seminar in Britain! Sounds interesting: “Taking place at Southampton Solent University Conference Centre on June 19th, the event will attract participants from a range of industry sectors including Offshore Oil & Gas, Marine Renewables, Port and Terminal Civil Engineering and Dredging.
Unexploded ordnance (UXO) pose a potential risk to seabed developers and contractors and the survey and detection of such explosive munitions presents various challenges. Bibby HydroMap have decades of experience in the provision of large scale UXO surveys, much of which is a result of the growth in the UK offshore wind industry. The company have worked closely with clients and UXO consultants to optimise their UXO survey configuration to maximise data quality whilst increasing efficiency.” See more here.

May 11, 2015
National Guard search for explosives in Winchester Hills; STGnews Videocast

Searches for explosives in the rural community of Winchester Hills north of St. George have become a part of life for some residents since 2007, when one resident discovered a 3 1/2-inch bazooka round that was apparently left in the area over 50 years ago; at that time the area was a Utah National Guard training range. Monday, the search continued as a private company hired by the state of Utah in conjunction with the National Guard combed an area of the community and the surrounding area with high powered metal detectors. More on UXO in Utah here.

May 8, 2015
Job Announcement: UXO Technician 3 in Alabama

A job in the USA for a professional clearance worker! How unusual is that? “UXO Technician Level 3 position with the potential for extensive travel and long-term on-site work as required.” I wonder if you get to travel to Laos or Vietnam or Cambodia? Probably not… Anyway, if interested, here is the job link.

May 7, 2015
UXO kills man as he ploughs

A man hired to operate a plough was killed in a rice field yesterday when he struck an anti-tank mine in Battambang province’s Phnom Prek district, bringing this year’s death toll from unexploded ordnance to at least eight.
The victim, Sorn Sim, 36, was a resident of O’Tasok village, according to Phnom Prek district police chief Song Sopheak.
Sopheak said the incident occurred in a field that farmers had cultivated for years, but had formerly served as a battlefield. Read more about farming dangers in Western Cambodia at The Phnom Penh Post.

May 4, 2015
Boy Killed, Three Injured in UXO Explosion

A 12-year-old boy was killed and two other children and their adult neighbor were seriously injured when an old artillery shell exploded on Saturday evening in a remote area of Preah Vihear province, a local military police official said Sunday.
The explosion occurred after Soeun Chin, a 28-year-old soldier, found the DK-75 shell while gathering firewood in the forest with the three children and decided to put it in his cart and take it home, according to Chhour Bunsong, the military police commander for Choam Ksan district in Preah Vihear. The Cambodia Daily has the rest of the story.

May 3, 2015
Ordnance removal workers say job is hazardous, pay is unfair

It’s not a job for the faint of heart. Unexploded ordnance that litters former military training sites on many Hawaiian islands is unstable, known to go off without warning. One such occurrence early this month sent two maintenance workers at Makua Military Reservation on Oahu to the hospital with serious injuries, West Hawaii Today reported Tuesday.
Eleven people have been killed or injured by old artillery rounds in the state since the 1940s. Read more on the UXO danger in Hawaii at The Times Union.

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.