Women’s team braces danger in Quang Tri UXO-removal
  • By Toan Vu | | August 30, 2019 04:38 PM
A team of women in the explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) programme have worked hard to bring safety to the people in Quang Tri.

Searching for unexploded mines

Every day, the women equipped with metal detectors and shovels walk Quang Tri’s hills to find unexploded mines.

Nguyen Thi Le Quyen from Peace Trees Vietnam Organisation said she had done this job for years. Currently, she is clearing the mines in Ka Reng Village, Huong Hiep Commune. The smallest mistakes could cost them their lives. Whenever the metal detector reacts, the team is both concerned and glad. Quyen must quickly plant a flag at the location and another employee will come to dig up the soil.

Carefully digging up the mines

The small unexploded ordnance will be detonated at the scene while the larger are transferred to a safer location.

There are many local and foreign organisations that are helping to remove the mines and bombs from Quang Tri including MAG, Renew and SODI. The members of the EOD teams are mostly local people who have been trained by foreign experts. They must be careful and patient in order to do the job.

"Ever since I was small, I have heard and seen many accidents caused by unexploded ordnance. The war ended a long time ago but the people in my hometown still have to face many dangers. That's why I chose this profession," Quyen said.


A group of women help to remove mines from Quang Tri

Unexploded ordnance has killed and injured 100,000 people after 1975, of which 8,500 people are in Quang Tri.

Quyen said her family as well as other members' families, opposed their choice of the profession at first.

"But if we don't do it then who will clear Quang Tri then? So I persuaded my parents, my husband and my husband's family," Quyen said. "Our joy is to be able to see the changes in our land. We also helped to raise public awareness so that other people will be more careful and collaborate with us."

After being established in 1995, the mine removal teams that are funded by the US have cleared nearly 160 million square metres and dealt with over 700,000 ordnance.

Quang Tri's goal is to become the first province to put an end to all unexploded ordnance accidents by 2025.

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