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 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 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.