Vietnamese UXO victims call for a life of peace and development

Source: Pano feed

PANO – More than 100,000 people, including innocent children and breadwinners of families, have been killed or injured by bombs and mines left by wars in Vietnam, according to reports at an art exchange titled “For a Life of Peace and Development,” which was held on the April 3rd evening in Hanoi by the State Steering Committee for National Action Program on overcoming the consequences of bombs, mines and explosives left by wars in Vietnam (Program 504), the Voice of Vietnam and several other businesses and social organizations.

Representatives of military unit and organizations in exchange

Representatives of military unit and organizations in exchange

The art exchange, which echoes the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action (April 4th), aimed to review the results of demining activities across the country since Program 504 was launched under the Prime Minister’s Decision, 5 years ago.

The event drew the participation of Minister of Labours, Invalids and Social Affairs cum Deputy Chief of Committee 504 Pham Thi Hai Chuyen; Chief of the Engineering Corps under the Defence Ministry cum Deputy Chief of the Standing Office under Committee 504, Major General Tran Hong Minh; social organizations; businesses; victims of bombs and mines left by wars; and international guests.

The four UXO victims (in front line) participating in the art exchange

The four UXO victims (in front line) participating in the art exchange

During the event, the delegates listened to moving stories of bomb and mine victims, their sufferings in life and their hopes; watched video clips on incidents of exploded bombs and mines, factual pollution of bombs, mines, explosives or unexploded ordnance (UXOs) in Vietnam; and Vietnam’s efforts and international supports in overcoming the consequences of UXOs.

In an exchange with the audience, Major General Tran Hong Minh and representatives of organizations said that the Party, State, Government, Army and peoplehave earmarked a large sum of efforts and assets for demining activities across the country over the past years. Facts showed that thanks to the domestic effort and international support, the pace of clearing UXOs has tripled over the past five years, since the foundation of Program 504.

Facts also displayed that some 20 percent of the country was still UXO-polluted and that it may take 100 years to free all land from UXOs if UXOs is cleared at the current speed. Thus, they called on the whole society, organizations, businesses and individuals as well as foreign countries and international organizations to join hand with the Vietnamese Government in clearing UXOs and supporting UXO victims.

According to an official from A Luoi district of the central province of Thua Thien Hue, one of the serious UXO polluted areas, and home to ethnic minorities, up to 30 percent of the households of the district is rated as the poor or sub-poor levels.

What is more, a video clip showed that, as local people did not have enough land for agricultural production nor had other livelihoods, they risked their lives by collecting scrap iron and what they looked for was unexploded ordnance.

All the abovementioned means, blood will keep bleeding and more innocent people will be either killed or injured by UXOs in the future; millions of hectares of land will remain “dead”; many Vietnamese people will have to live in an insecure, unsafe environment; and the Vietnamese people’s combat against hunger and poverty will be slowed down since it will continue to earmark a good sum for clearing UXOs and supporting UXO victims.

Although a number of questions remained unanswered, delegates at the art exchange agreed that the Vietnamese Government, organizations, businesses and individuals, and foreign countries, international organizations and friends should join hands, do more to accelerate demining activities, effectively support the people in seriously UXO-polluted areas, especially UXO victims.

They all called for a world without wars, bombs, mines and bullets and hoped for a peaceful, prosperous world.

Thu Nguyen

Đăng ký: VietNam News