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 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 November 2014

Nov2014News

20 November, 2014
Gold seekers killed in North Darfur explosion


Two gold seekers were killed at Mashru Abuzaid in North Darfur on Wednesday, when an explosive device, supposedly unexploded ordnance remaining from conflict in the area, detonated as they were digging.
Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that Abdul Nabi Musa Issa and Suleiman Yagoub Adam were searching for gold using an electronic detector. At about 2 pm, the gold detector’s alarm sounded and they began to dig. You can read more on the aftermath of South Sudan’s civil war at Radio Dabanga.

20 November, 2014
Man loses left leg after UXO blast in province


A man was seriously injured in Battambang province yesterday when he stepped on an anti-personnel mine, causing it to explode, officials told the Post.
Ly Buoy, Samlot district police chief, said that 31-year-old Chhorn Sono was collecting wood in a forest in Chork Rokar village when the mine exploded early yesterday morning.
“He was not a military man, but he was hired to collect wooden planks for renovating a border outpost,” he said. The rest of the story is at The Phnom Penh Post.

18 November, 2014
MAG’s female demining group clears Quang Tri with care


Eight women make up the core of an UXO (unexploded ordnance) detection team funded by the British Mines Advisory Group (MAG)’s mission in Quang Tri Province.
The region suffered the worst of American bombing during the peak of the Vietnam War and was a principle battleground during the 1968 Tet Offensive. Read the rest and watch a video of the group at Thanh Nien News.

18 November, 2014
The Bomb in a Drawer


For quite sometime, it was just there, inside a drawer of an office table in a village hall in a town in Maguindanao. It is not the usual office stationery you keep on your drawer, it is an unexploded ordnance (UXO), 60mm mortar found by one of the village officials. He kept it in his drawer, locked. For whatever reason, he waited for the right time to turn it over.
Read the rest at Minda News from the Philippines.

17 November, 2014
Deer hunters asked to watch out for explosives at Fort McCoy


Deer hunters, be careful when walking about the Fort McCoy hunting grounds because you might come upon unexploded shells.
Officials in Wisconsin said on Monday the hundreds of hunters expected to be on the grounds during the nine-day gun deer season Nov. 22 to 30 could encounter munitions that didn’t explode during live-fire training or testing. Read more at Madison.com.

17 November, 2014
Mine found buried near Sihanoukville road


Officials are requesting the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) to destroy an anti-tank mine unearthed last week next to a Sihanoukville town street.
A group of water company workers found the mine Thursday while digging for a water pipeline connection in Commune 4, said Ros Eng Hong, the commune’s deputy police chief.
“There are many ordnance in the area, especially 150-millimetre shell UXO. They’re piled up under the trees.”
You can read the rest at The Phnom Penh Post.

11 November, 2014
Unexploded ordnance a major concern in Tinian harbor project


A major concern relating to the development of the Tinian Harbor is the possible presence of unexploded ordnance.
In a recent meeting of stakeholders called by the CNMI CIP Office, Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality Manager Ray Masga raised the concern with respect to unexploded ordnance the CNMI will face if it undertakes a dredging project. More on the threat of UXO at the US nuclear testing area from Marianas Variety.

10 November, 2014
New UXO clearance project kicks off in Georgia


In August 2008, two of the eight tunnels of the Military Ammunition Depot in Skra, near Gori, exploded, throwing out some 500 tons of unexploded munitions and other debris, sealing off the tunnel entrance and presenting a severe safety and proliferation threat.
“The project aims to clear the debris and access the tunnels to remove any remaining live munitions or the debris. This will make the area safe for the local population and usable for the local authority” said David Towndrow, the NATO Support Agency Project Officer. NATO has more on the project to clear UXO in Georgia.

8 November, 2014
The Purple Buddha Project is helping artisans in war-torn Cambodia heal their hearts and feed their families.


Cambodia and neighboring Laos are two of the most-bombed countries in the world. And bombings during times of conflict are just the start. Both countries are plagued with unexploded ordnances (UXOs), a fancy term for bombs and mines that never went off. As a result, these countries also have the highest numbers of amputees in the world. The Purple Buddha Project is empowering groups of artisans to tackle the UXO problem with crafts. More on the project here.

7 November, 2014
ANAMA: 80 UXOs, 11 antipersonnel and 15 antitank mines found and disarmed in October


4,173,583 sq m area was inspected and cleared of mines and unexploded ordinances (UXO) by Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) in October, 2014.
ANAMA told APA that 80 UXOs, 11 antipersonnel and 15 antitank mines were found and disarmed. Read the rest of the dispatch from Azerbaijan here.

3 November, 2014
Cambodian UXO injuries, deaths up in ’14


Landmine casualties more than doubled in the first eight months of this year compared to the same period in 2013, according to officials, who are pointing to the wider use of industrial agricultural equipment – such as tractors – as the reason for the uptick in explosions.
From January to August, 129 landmine casualties – which include injuries and deaths – were documented, a 55 per cent increase from the 83 recorded in the same period last year, says the most recent monthly report by the Cambodian Mine Action Authority (CMAA). Read the rest at The Phnom Penh Post.

NEWS ROUNDUP October 2014

Oct2014News

22 October, 2014
Laos on track for UXO development goal target


This year Laos may reach its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets to reduce the impact of unexploded ordnance but the human cost remains high, local press reported Wednesday.
According to Director of the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) Phoukhieo Chanthasomboun, the Laos-specific Millennium Development Goal 9 (MDG) has set a target of less than 75 unexploded ordnance (UXO) casualties per year.
“For the first 10 months of this year, the UXO accident rate is in line with the MDG set target but the explosive devices are still blowing up and many adults and children are being killed and injured each month,” Phoukhieo said. More on the story from Xinhua at GlobalPost.

20 October, 2014
ASEAN to strengthen assistance for Lao victims of UXO


Twenty-four officials from the line agencies in charge of social affairs, assistance to victims, and de-mining of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam participated in the workshop. They exchanged ideas and discussed national policies and the best practices to ultimately benefit victims of UXOs and improve their lives, as well as prevent new victims in the future. More from Thai PBS.

16 October, 2014
Artillery shell found in Vietnam pre-school


An Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team from Project RENEW safely removed an artillery shell from a kindergarten in the north-central province of Quang Tri.
Nguyen Thi Hong, the headmistress of the Cam Thanh ward nursery in Cam Lo district called RENEW right after she found the 100-millimeter shell on school grounds. The rest of the short story is at Thanh Nien News.

15 October, 2014
The Families At Risk From Iraq’s Legacy Of Conflict – report & photo gallery


The Kurdish region of northern Iraq is now hosting more than 800,000 displaced Iraqis, including Yazidi, Christian, Shabak, Kakai, Armenian and Turkmen minorities.
The region has suffered from numerous conflicts over many decades and as a result is highly contaminated by the explosive remnants of war: unexploded ordnance (UXO) and landmines. MAG has been working in the region since 1992, clearing the areas most needed by communities to develop and live in safety.
Read more and see the photos at MAG’s website.

14 October, 2014
Recycling in Sudan: Turning bombs into agricultural tools


For over three years, the Sudan government has been leading an intense bombing campaign in South Kordofan. In an area cut off from the rest of the world, local villagers are now recycling the shells to help them grow crops.
Since June 2011, the Sudanese army and rebels from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement of the North (SPLM-N) have been fighting over control of this oil-rich region, which borders South Sudan. In the Nuba Mountains, the army has been blighting the lives of local villagers with a blanket bombing campaign, resulting in dozens of civilian deaths.
With supplies scarce, the locals have used their ingenuity. Read the rest of this remarkable story at France 24.

5 October, 2014
War-era bunker full of unexploded ordnances found in central Vietnam


Construction workers detected a bunker containing a huge amount of war-era unexploded ordnance (UXO) in the north-central province of Quang Tri.
Workers of the Truong Son Construction Corporation under the Ministry of Defense were digging up the soil to clear the site for construction of the Lao Bao International Border Gate in the eponymous town when they detected the bunker.
Inside the bunker they found dozens of artillery shells, mortar shells, hundreds of cluster bombs and other ordnance.
Major Vo Cong Nam, chief supervisor at the construction site, said all the UXOs were produced and left by the US army during the Vietnam War, which ended in 1975. More on the story at Thanh Nien News.

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.