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 September 2014

Sept2014News

30 September, 2014
Let’s not rely on luck when it comes to unexploded bombs


Last month, a 36kg unexploded bomb was discovered in North Point, left by the Japanese at the end of the second world war. The police used 100 sandbags to effect a controlled explosion. Nevertheless, debris was flung 100 metres and it created a three-metre-deep crater. In February, a 900kg American bomb discovered in Happy Valley was successfully defused by the police.
Hong Kong’s struggle in the second world war involved the use of ordnance – aircraft bombs, artillery, grenades and other types of ammunition – manufactured by the British, Japanese, Americans and Chinese. After the war, one of the first jobs for the British on returning to Hong Kong was to clear the harbour of the 50-odd shipwrecks. Resources were not available for a general clearance of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and the efforts made at that time were less than optimal. Read more about Hong Kong’s WWII-era bomb problem at the South China Morning Post.

26 September, 2014
1,000-pound bomb safely detonated in Quang Tri

Exploded Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams from Peace Trees Viet Nam (PTVN) detonated and removed a 1,000-pound (450kg) bomb in the central Quang Tri Province yesterday.
Pham Thi Hoang Ha of PTVN, a non-government organisation that has been searching for unexploded ordnance in Quang Tri since 1995, said the 1.8-metre-long, 35.6-centimentre-diameter bomb, which was classified as an MK83, is believed to have been left behind after the American war. More here.

25 September, 2014
500-kg bomb exposed on riverbank in northern Vietnam

A 500-kg bomb has emerged from the bank of a river in the northern Vietnamese province of Quang Tri after continuous rains in the area, local authorities reported Wednesday.
While patrolling along the bank of the Se Pon River yesterday, border guards found the unexploded ordnance (UXO) lying on the ground nearby, said the Tam Thanh border gate station in Thanh commune, Huong Hoa District. More at Tuoi Tre News.

19 September, 2014
Finding Unexploded Ordnance on the Reef or On Your Way to Work

Sal was walking in to work today when he noticed an encrusted mortar shell lying by the side of the path. Being obviously more aware of his surroundings than I am in the morning, he pulled up short. “How in the heck did that get there?” was his first thought, followed by, “That should NOT be there.”
He did not touch it or move it. He called Jim, our facilities manager, the police came, followed by an EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) team. When I walked up, there was a 50 meter perimeter already set up. You can read the rest at Science Island (Hawaii).

September 19, 2014
UXO Drone to find UXO in Laos

Ryan Baker says that Laos is, per capita, the most heavily bombed nation in the world. During the Vietnam war the US flew more than half a million bombing missions and delivered more than two million tons of explosive ordnance.
Baker’s solution is to use his company’s drones to search for these UXOs without putting the drone operators in danger. Arch Aerial is running a Kickstarter campaign to get development funding for a proposed Arch Aerial UXO Drone. See more here and at Kickstarter. (Editor’s note: This is so unlikely on so many levels, but is interesting nonetheless)

September 19, 2014
ANAMA completes mine/UXO clearance operations in Gabala radar station

36 anti-tank, 16 antipersonnel mines and one UXO were found during the operations.
Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) has completed the mine/UXO clearance operations in the territory of Gabala radar station, chief operation manager of ANAMA Samir Poladov told APA. Read more at News.AZ

September 18, 2014
War to Peace – An American 
veteran returns to Vietnam to help make it safer for 
his former enemy

Nearly 40 years on, Chuck Searcy is still fighting the Vietnam War—but now for the other side. It’s a September morning and Searcy, a 69-year-old veteran, is overseeing a team of Vietnamese about to blow up a bomb discovered in a village in the central coastal province of Quang Tri. Because of its proximity to the old DMZ between what was once North and South Vietnam, Quang Tri was subject to relentless bombing by U.S. warships and planes. As a result, the area is infested with unexploded ordnance. You can see the rest at TIME.

September 11, 2014
Suspected unexploded ordnance found near grounded vessel

THE salvage operations to remove the container ship MV Paul Russ from the reef in the Saipan Harbor ran into another roadblock yesterday with the discovery of what appears to be unexploded ordnance.
According to a release issued by Lt. William White of the U.S. Coast Guard, “While conducting dive operations, divers discovered what appears to be unexploded ordnance behind and next to the grounded vessel. All response operations in the vicinity of the vessel have been suspended until the U.S. Navy Explosives Ordnance Division (USN EOD) can assess and safely remove the items.”
More to be read at Marianas Variety.

September 2, 2014
Lao villager’s favorite pastime: detonate unexploded U.S. bombs

While most residents at Vilabouly village in Savannakhet province in Laos are engaged in farming and fishing, Wan’s favorite pastime is defusing bombs left by the Americans during the Indochina war.
Recently Wan defused a 1,000 kilogram U.S. bomb after European experts decided that defusing the unexploded ordnance (UXO) would prove to be too dangerous.
The Shanghai Daily has more of this very curious story.

September 3, 2014
Gwynt y Môr bomb sweep completed

Consultant engineering outfit 6 Alpha Associates has carried out a five-month unexploded ordnance (UXO) project to pave the way for cable installation at RWE’s 576MW Gwynt y Môr wind farm.
The risk management work at the 160-turbine wind farm, in 12–33 metres of water in Liverpool Bay, off the Welsh coast, is final confirmation that the threat to cable installation from UXOs has been reduced to “as low as is reasonably practicable”. More at Recharge News.