U.S. Department of State’s Working Delegation Visit Female Demining Teams

Posted on May 24, 2023 View all News

Branch Chief Katherine Baker and Senior Analyst Geary Cox from PM/WRA pose for a photo with NPA/RENEW’s all-women multi-tasking team.

On May 19, 2023, a working delegation from the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) led by East Asia and Pacific Branch Chief Katherine Baker visited all-women teams of Norwegian People’s Aid and Project RENEW (NPA/RENEW) working in Gio Linh District.

This was the first visit to Quang Tri Province of Ms. Baker who was accompanied by PM/WRA Senior Analyst Geary Cox as part of their review of the U.S. assistance to address unexploded ordnance in Quang Tri from 16-22 May.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Thiep, who called the provincial hotline number, said that Ha Loi Trung villagers have encountered wartime explosives many times and they always report their sightings.

In Trung Son Commune, Gio Linh District, the PM/WRA delegation observed the NPA/RENEW’s all-female Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team responding to explosive remnants reported by local residents. Ms. Nguyen Thi Thiep of Kinh Mon Village called the provincial hotline number and reported that she had encountered two munitions while tending her garden. Having assessed the situation at the site, the EOD team safely destroyed one 60mm mortar round and one 40mm grenade in place.

The management staff of NPA/RENEW briefs the PM/WRA delegation on the clearance procedures.

The PM/WRA delegation later traveled to Trung Giang Commune to visit NPA/RENEW’s all-female multi-task team who is working in Ha Loi Trung Village to clear a confirmed hazardous area. Since April 2023, the female team has cleared a total of 383,512 square meters of land and safely destroyed 116 cluster munitions and other explosive ordnance during the clearance. The team schedules to complete this clearance site by the end of August, which will provide direct benefits to 883 farmers in Ha Loi Trung.

Since 2015 with funding provided by PM/WRA, NPA/RENEW has conducted a survey and clearance program in Quang Tri. In mid-April 2023, as planned, NPA/RENEW Vietnam concluded the Cluster Munition Remnants Survey (CMRS) of all accessible areas in Quang Tri Province. Thanks to the definition and mapping of confirmed hazardous areas totaling up to 620 square kilometers in Quang Tri, all the mine action stakeholders now can work together in mobilizing donor support and plan to use resources effectively to complete the clearance in the years to come.

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