“Vietnam has been a tremendous partner for the U.S. when it comes to addressing legacies of war, not just, obviously, the unexploded ordnance issue, but also the issues of those who’ve been missing in action as well as dioxin and Agent Orange,” Jerry Guilbert, chief of Programs for Weapons Removal and Abatement under the U.S. Department of State, told a press conference Tuesday.
Guilbert said one of the greatest accomplishments in Vietnam-U.S. cooperation in dealing with war legacies is the fact that there have been no deaths from unexploded ordnance in Quang Tri Province for the past few years.
He also praised the efforts of provincial authorities in pioneering many new and innovative technologies and techniques for addressing UXOs.
“We’re actually on track to making Quang Tri free from the impact of UXOs by the end of 2025,” Guilbert stressed, adding the central province was the most heavily contaminated by UXO in all of Vietnam.
Between 2014 and 2019, the province had attracted $100 million in foreign non-governmental aid, receiving an average 38 new projects a year. It has cooperated with 67 foreign NGOs and international organizations from countries like Ireland, South Korea, the U.K. and U.S.
Quang Tri was the stage of the Tet Offensive in 1968 and Easter Offensive in 1972.
A total 391,000 hectares of provincial land, accounting for 83.3 percent of its total area, remains infested with mines and other explosives from the war, according to official statistics.
According to Quang Tri’s Legacy of War Coordination Center, 8,540 people in the province have fallen victims to UXOs since 1975, with 3,431 fatalities. Many were collecting scrap when detonating an explosive.