Vientiane (VNA) – Laos will focus on reaching all expected goals on unexploded ordnance (UXO) clearance, especially the implementation of non-technical surveys for more than 3,800 UXO-affected villages in 2017, according the Lao News Agency (KPL).
The plan is to look for evidence of UXOs using non-technical surveys to facilitate clearance in focal development areas, developing projects and agricultural areas.
“We will continue conducting a public campaign on UXO awareness, intending to reduce the number of UXO victims to fewer than 40 people annually and providing assistance, medical treatment, health rehabilitation and creating vocations for 1,500 UXO-affected victims,” Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Khamxay Xaysompheng said early this month to mark the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action 2017.
To achieve the above-mentioned expectations, the government must have an action plan and determine its priorities, as well as contribute to financial support in addition to the existing funds from international donors in accordance with real situations, he added.
According to the official, the government should also continue to call for financial support from international organisations and country donors to conduct UXO clearance projects in the future so as to gradually clear the UXOs remaining in the country.
Between 1964 and 2008, about 300 people were reportedly killed by UXOs every year. Since 2009, this number has reduced to 50 per year. UXOs still pose a threat to the livelihood of Lao people, especially in poverty-affected areas – 41 out of the 46 poorest districts in Laos are UXO-contaminated./.