Sat, 24 Jul 2021

VIENTIANE, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Over 5,000 pieces of unexploded ordnance (UXO) have been destroyed and cleared from agricultural and infrastructure development areas in Laos' northern Huaphan province, some 310 km northeast of the Lao capital Vientiane.

According to a local daily Vientiane Times report on Tuesday, from January 2018 to May 2021, a total of 5,377 pieces of UXO were detonated or deactivated in the province, with 2.8 million square meters of land having been surveyed, 1.04 million square meters of land cleared, and 48 suspected minefields inventoried.

All of the cleared lands can now be used for the purpose of agricultural activities or the construction of buildings such as schools and hospitals, the report said.

In terms of UXO victim assistance, the number of people with disabilities and UXO survivors was identified as 976, of whom 108 were taken to medical and rehabilitation facilities based in Vientiane as well as in Huaphan and Xieng Khuang provinces.

A mine risk education campaign was carried out in 44 target villages covering 29,469 adults and children in order to raise the local public awareness of the risks of UXO, according to the report.

The initiative is deemed as a good example on its successfully combining UXO related and livelihood activities, thus improving sustainable livelihoods.

Laos is the most heavily bombed country in the world on the per capita basis. Between 1964 and 1973, over 2 million tons of pieces of ordnance were dropped on Laos, of which 30 percent failed to explode.

Over 270 million cluster munitions were dropped from the U.S. aircraft, leaving an estimated 80 million live bomblets scattered and buried around the Southeast Asian country, according to the newspaper report.

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