Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Laos plans to remove UXOs on 7,000ha




Laos plans to remove UXOs on 7,000ha

Laos plans to remove UXOs on 7,000ha

Laos' National Regulatory Authority (NRA) for the UXO/Mine Action Sector has set a target to clear and destroy unexploded ordnance (UXO) on over 7,000ha of land this year.

The target was reported last week at a UXO Sector Working Group meeting to summarise its activities over the first six months of this year and plans for the remainder of the year.

The meeting was attended by Minister of Labour and Social Welfare and NRA board chairman Dr Khampheng Saysompheng, UN Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative Ricarda Rieger, US ambassador to Laos Dr Peter M Haymond, government officials and foreign ambassadors.

Dr Khampheng told the meeting that the Covid-19 pandemic had impacted UXO operations, especially clearance projects which were suspended. However, the NRA continued other activities such as mine risk education via radio programmes.

NRA head of office Chomyaeng Phengthongsawath reported that for the last six months of this year the authority would continue to aim to clear 7,761ha and conduct technical surveys to identify confirmed hazardous areas (CHA) on 42,130ha.

They will continue to conduct non-technical surveys in 796 villages and continue mine risk education in 402 communities.

The NRA reported that during the first six months, 2,239ha of land were cleared, 7,870ha of CHA were identified, and 310 villages surveyed. Clearance teams destroyed 44,868 items of UXO including 33,521 cluster munitions.

From 2021-2025, the NRA is aiming to clear 50,000ha of land, conduct non-technical surveys in 2,776 villages and technical surveys to identify CHA on 250,000ha, and undertake mine risk education in 3,000 communities.

According to the National UXO Programme (UXO Lao), during the first six months of the year, they were able to clear 966ha comprising 965ha of farmland and destroy 13,454 UXO items including 12,236 cluster munitions.

Mine risk education units completed activities in 109 villages with 73,227 participants including 31,963 children and 41,264 adults.

In addition, a total of 1,366ha, including 1,333ha of agricultural land was identified as hazardous.

The programme has been working in the nine UXO-affected provinces of Huaphan, Luang Prabang, Xieng Khuang, Khammuan, Savannakhet, Saravan, Sekong, as well as Champasak and Attapeu which border Cambodia.

UXO Lao has set a target to clear 1,423ha of land and carry out non-technical surveys in 17 villages and technical surveys on 1,889ha.

UXO is an obstacle to economic and social development, contaminating land that could otherwise be used for agriculture, industry, tourism and the construction of infrastructure.

Laos is the most heavily bombed country in the world per capita. Throughout the Second Indochina War (1964-1973), over two million tonnes of ordnance were dropped on Laos, of which 30 per cent failed to explode.

Over 270 million cluster munitions were dropped from US aircraft, leaving an estimated 80 million live bomblets (bombies) scattered and buried around the country.

VIENTIANE TIMES/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen says Kingdom not a 'satellite country'

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia had sent diplomatic notes to various embassies demonstrating its stance and clarifying allegations that the Kingdom is a satellite country of China which will allow it exclusive access to the Ream Naval Base in Preah Sihanouk province. The response

  • Vast Prince Manor fun park opens to much fanfare in Kandal

    Chinese-owned Prince Culture and Development Co Ltd officially launched the $85 million Prince Manor entertainment centre in Kandal province on Wednesday. Prince Manor is located along National Road 1, 20km from the centre of Phnom Penh. It is the first major theme park project in Cambodia and

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Cintri strike ends, workers’ contracts to be terminated

    CINTRI (Cambodia) Ltd rubbish collectors who have been on strike for the past 13 days agreed to return to work starting Wednesday evening after the company agreed to terminate their contracts at the end of January next year and provide seniority payments and other benefits to