Military officers in Phú Yên prepare to detonate a bomb found in Sông Hinh village in March 2022. The bomb is one of 800,000 explosive devices leftover in Việt Nam post-war. — VNA/VNS Photo Tường Quân

The programme aims to mobilise and use domestic and international resources to minimise the effects of UXO on the country's socio-economic development, ensuring safety for the people. It seeks to promote dissemination activities to raise people’s awareness of mine accidents and help UXO victims reintegrate into the community, as well as its compliance with Vietnamese laws and international treaties and agreements that Việt Nam has signed.

It will concentrate on studying and perfecting an organisational structure system from the central to the local level to utilise domestic and international resources to implement the national action programme on settling the consequences of wartime UXOs in Việt Nam (Programme 504).

It seeks to upgrade at least five regional orthopaedic and rehabilitation establishments and build at least 15 models of commune-level health stations to assist UXO victims, with priority given to heavily polluted areas, provide timely treatment for victims of UXO accidents, and proactively support their sustainable livelihoods. The programme also looks to build a database to assist the victims.

The PM asked the Ministry of National Defence to coordinate with other ministries, agencies and localities in the implementation of the approved plan.

The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs was ordered to work with the Ministry of National Defence, the Việt Nam National Mine Action Centre (VNMAC) and relevant ministries, agencies and localities in negotiating and signing international cooperation documents and receiving resources for the implementation of the plan.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will coordinate with other ministries and localities in bringing contents of cooperation and assistance in overcoming post-war consequences of landmines and UXOs into the working programmes of Party and State leaders with relevant international organisations and regional forums.

The Ministry of Finance has been requested to collaborate with the ministries of Planning and Investment, and National Defence in balancing and allocating the State budget to implement the plan.

The Ministry of Information and Communications will coordinate with the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Information and Education, the Việt Nam Journalists Association, the Ministry of National Defence and relevant ministries and agencies to direct and provide accurate and timely information on the work.

The People's Committees of provinces and centrally-run cities were asked to include post-war bomb and mine remediation activities into their local socio-economic development plans. They were also assigned to promote the dissemination work to raise people's awareness about mine accidents and support UXO victims in line with state regulations.

According to latest estimates by the Việt Nam National Mine Action Centre (VNMAC), 800,000 tonnes of explosives still remain and scattered across Việt Nam, with the total mine contamination area around 6.1 million hectares.

After the war ended in 1975, leftover explosives have claimed more than 40,000 lives, injuring 60,000 people.

Việt Nam and the United States are actively working together to eliminate explosives, with the US funding more than US$200 million for programmes to disarm and remove explosives in Việt Nam from 1993 until now. — VNS