THE VIETNAMESE government said it needs at least 100 years and more than US$10 billion to clear all the unexploded landmines and bombs leftover from previous wars.
The mammoth figure does not even take into account the billions more needed to pay for resettlement and social security in the affected areas.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs estimates that 800,000 tonnes of unexploded mines and bombs remain scattered across 20 percent of the nation’s territory, presenting a continuing and significant risk to its citizens. All 63 provinces and cities in Vietnam have at least some mines.
These mines and bombs – the often forgotten and deadly legacy of the US war in Vietnam – have killed about 42,130 people and injured 62,160 more.
From 1945 to 1975, the US dropped more than 15 million tonnes of bombs and mines in Vietnam – four times the amount used in the Second World War.
According to VietNamNet Bridge, statistics indicate that one-third (34 percent) of landmine-related accidents happen when victims look for war scrap, 27 percent when farming or grazing cattle, and 21 percent while playing with the explosives.
Deputy chief of the ministry’s secretariat Lưu Hồng Sơn blamed the mines and bombs for their terrible effects on the Vietnamese people as well as the nation’s socioeconomic development, reported Việt Nam News.
He said that while Vietnam has made significant progress in dealing with the mines and bombs – decontaminating tens of thousands of hectares of land – there is much more to be done.