Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) has signed an agreement with the Quang Tri’s Provincial People’s Committee to implement the “Restoring the Environment and Neutralising the Effects of War” (RENEW) project during the 2018-2022 period.

The project will continue previous work from NPA in conducting technical and non-technical surveys to clear land contaminated by unexploded ordnance and help build up and train a local team to perform the task. Total investment for the project is VND225 billion ($9.87 million), funded by NPA.

At the signing ceremony, Vice Chairman of the Provincial People’s Committee Mai Thuc said he appreciated NPA’s support over recent years in addressing the consequences of war and the RENEW project has already make significant contributions to the efficiency and effectiveness of bomb and mine clearance.

Quang Tri was the place hardest hit by bombings during the American War. It was a center for US military bases and a principle battleground during the 1968 Tet Offensive. An estimated 400,000 pieces of unexploded ordinance remain buried in about 83 per cent of the province’s total area, injuring some 8,500 people, including 3,400 fatalities (31 per cent of which were children) since 1975, according to a RENEW survey.

Founded in 1939, NPA is one of Norway’s largest non-government organizations and started its support in bomb and mine clearance in Vietnam in 2008. It has helped remove nearly 70,000 pieces of dangerous ordnance, helping to eliminate the risks of death and injury among local residents.

Vietnam is among the countries most heavily contaminated by bombs and mines in the world. Between 1945 and 1975, during its two wars with French and American invaders, more than 15 million tons of explosives were dropped on the country; four times higher than the amount unleashed during World War II.

Around 800,000 tons of unexploded ordnance remain scattered across the country, contaminating 6.1 million ha, or 18.7 per cent of its land area, and causing explosions that kill or injure over 1,500 people every year, according to the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs. The risk of explosions is present in about 80 per cent of provinces in the central region. With support from the international community, Vietnam is clearing an average of 40,000-50,000 ha each year.