Mine Risk Education

Team Leader Truong Cong Vinh taking notes from Hoa and Phien, ninth graders at Trieu Van School, whose information guided a RENEW team to four different locations littered with more than 500 wartime unexploded ordnance (UXO).

LM – The main objective of Project RENEW’s Mine Risk Education is the risk of ERW accidents among chilren and adults is reduced and eventually eliminated through education, information, and public awareness in support of EOD quick response.

World War I and World War II-era bombs are still found by the thousands in European countries, even today. According to Spiegel Online, in Germany alone, more than 2,000 tons of aerial bombs and all sorts of munitions ranging from hand grenades and tank mines to artillery shells are recovered each year.  So it is impossible – and not necessary –  to clean up every bomb and mine in Vietnam.  The real goal must be to make Quang Tri safe ­– which means placing priority on removing cluster bombs, grenades, mortar and artillery rounds, and other small ordnance on the ground or just under the surface – the main items that kill and injure children, farmers, and other adults.

Project RENEW’s practical successes in clearance of UXO during the past eight years, in partnership with Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), have proven that removal and destruction of the most lethal threat must be the priority, that the danger can be confronted, and ordnance can be cleaned up, safely.  That’s where MRE plays an integral role – by educating children and adults, who must continue to live with the threat of UXO, about how they can live safely, how they can avoid accident and injury, how they can be part of the day-to-day solution to this problem.

The clean-up of wartime debris will likely continue for years. However, children and adults can be safe if they are educated about UXO risks and provided with guidance on what to do when they encounter ERW around their homes and gardens, roadsides and school yards.  Accordingly,  RENEW will sustain its integrated Community Reporting Network (CRN) in support of EOD operations. There are 185 CRN members, consisting of Youth Union officers, who are responsible for reinforcing UXO safety messages and engaging the local population in reporting UXO sightings to Project RENEW’s teams for timely and safe removal.

People living in RENEW’s areas of operation now much greater awareness of UXO dangers and they know how to prevent UXO accidents.  And in reporting UXO findings, local people are protecting themselves and their neighbors from being maimed or killed by UXOs.  The evidence?  From 2010 to 2014, there was a measurable increase in the number of UXO discoveries reported by local people to Project RENEW’s teams for timely and safe removal.  The chart below shows the clear trend. (Click here to see the chart)

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