220-pound Bomb Found at Agent Orange / Dioxin Remediation Site in A Luoi

Posted on March 2, 2022 View all News

An NPA Vietnam team in Thua Thien-Hue last week safely destroyed a 200lb unexploded aerial bomb which was found on a dioxin remediation site in Dong Son Commune, A Luoi District after they responded to an emergency callout to the hotline number.

The bomb was uncovered at a depth of three meters at a former U.S. military site known as the A Shau airfield during the Vietnam War. Since 2020, the National Action Centre for Toxic Chemicals and Environmental Treatment (NACCET), under the Ministry of National Defense, has conducted work to remediate an area of five hectares contaminated with dioxin at the A Shau airstrip.

NPA team leader investigates aerial bomb found at AO / dioxin remediation site.

Arriving at the site, the team conducted an investigation of the unexploded bomb. They concluded that it was safe to move to a designated safe location for disposal. On Tuesday, Feb 22, 2022, the team transported the 250lb bomb to their central demolition site in Phong Dien District and safely destroyed it.

This is the second time that NPA teams have dealt with unexploded aerial bombs found in A Luoi District during the past two months. Located west in the highly mountainous area of the A Shau Valley bordering Laos, A Luoi District is among 28 dioxin hot spots identified from over 2,700 former military installations used by the U.S. or Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), according to a 2006 report by Hatfield Consulting. Provincial statistics indicate that nearly 16,000 people have been exposed to agent orange / dioxin, of which A Luoi District has the most prevalence of about 5,000 people.

A lot of work remains for the Thua Thien-Hue provincial government, supported by international organizations and U.S. government funding, to address the lingering consequences of unexploded bombs and agent orange / dioxin, even though the war ended over four decades ago.

Bordering on Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Tri Province is not an exception. After more than two decades of joint efforts, the problem of unexploded bombs has been effectively addressed thanks to funding provided by the governments of the U.S., UK, Norway, Ireland, and Germany and cooperation with international mine action organizations such as Peacetrees, MAG, and NPA-RENEW.

Provinces receiving USAID Disability Assistance for calendar years 2015-2023. Source: USAID, “2015-2023 Disability Projects in Vietnam,” press release, December 2019

With over 9,000 people suffering from disabilities related to agent orange / dioxin, including some families with disabled grandchildren, Quang Tri Province has been added to the list of provinces eligible for U.S.-funded disability support. On December 5, 2019, USAID and Vietnam’s NACCET signed a “limited scope agreement” to provide $65 million in assistance for people with severe disabilities in eight heavily sprayed provinces over the next five years.

Since January 2022, RENEW has joined a consortium of five national organizations to implement a USAID-funded project to provide rehabilitation and home-based care services for people with disabilities in the provinces of Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue and Quang Nam. Meanwhile, our survey and clearance operations continue with partner organization Norwegian People’s Aid with funding from the U.S. Department of State.

Project RENEW was established in 2001 as a joint effort between the government of Quang Tri Province and interested INGOs to “restore the environment and neutralize the effects of the war”. RENEW is the only comprehensive mine action organization in Vietnam that integrates survey and clearance, risk education, and victim assistance into a coordinated program of action.

Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) is a politically independent membership-based organization working in Norway and more than 30 countries worldwide. NPA’s international work covers three core areas: Mine Action and disarmament, Development and Humanitarian relief aid. NPA has worked in Vietnam since 2007 and collaborated with national and provincial authorities to implement capacity development, survey, and clearance projects in Hanoi, Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue, and Quang Binh provinces.

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