U.S. Humanitarian Mine Action Assistance
Since 1993, the U.S. Government has been actively involved in assisting the people of Vietnam in overcoming the social and economic impacts of explosive remnants of war (ERW). Vietnam was formally accepted as the 37th participant in the U.S. Humanitarian Demining Program in June 2000, and the USG is now the largest donor of humanitarian assistance for mine action programs in Vietnam.
The USG has invested nearly $33 million in a broad spectrum of programs to alleviate not only the impact on the health and livelihood of individual Vietnamese citizens, but also to aggressively remove the source of the problem by funding projects that locate, remove and destroy unexploded ordinance and landmines. Of that amount, USAID’s Patrick J. Leahy War Victims Fund (LWVF) has provided more than $19 million to Vietnam through numerous NGO and private voluntary organizations since FY91. The LWVF aims to improve the mobility, health, and socioeconomic integration for persons with disabilities, including those who have sustained physical disabilities as a result of landmine-related incidents.
A recent USG funded project, Phase I of a UXO Landmine Impact Survey, was completed in 2005. This survey interviewed over 5,000 participants in 344 communes in Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Ha Tinh provinces and led directly to the clearance of more than 6,200 pieces of ERW. Phase II is planned to commence this year and will expand the survey efforts to the provinces of Nghe An, Thua Thien Hue, and Quang Nam, as well as Da Nang City. In addition to supporting various NGOs operating in the fields of ERW clearance, risk education and victim rehabilitation, the USG has also donated a vast array of equipment to the People's Army of Vietnam to assist them in their efforts to carry-out UXO and landmine clearance in support of infrastructure development projects and to return land to productive use. Included in recent years' donations have been ambulances, firetrucks, motorcycles, mine detectors, individual protective equipment, a mobile blast containment system, robotic equipment, and other specialized equipment to support underwater demining activities.
The U.S. Department of State plans to donate an additional $3.3 million to support the continuation of mine action activities in Vietnam in Fiscal Year 2006. The USG remains committed to the principle of humanitarian assistance, and is looking forward to an active and productive partnership with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in the years ahead.