Vietnam is one of the most heavily bombed countries in the world and subsequently this small nation faces a nearly unimaginable level of residual contamination from Explosive Remnants of War (ERW). This legacy has, for generations now, posed a hazard especially for the rural poor in Vietnam and will do so for generations to come: more than 18.82 % of Vietnam is estimated to be contaminated with ERW – most of this is valuable arable land.
Casualty rates from contact with ERW are highest in the uplands of Vietnam, amongst poor, rural ethnic minorities. These people are the primary beneficiaries of DDG’s work. The Vietnamese government says the country will need more than USD 10 billion and 300 years to be free from post-war landmines and UXO, taking into consideration the present speed of demining.
DDG was officially registered in Vietnam in 2012 and started Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) activities in Quang Nam province in January 2013, with a Mine Risk Education (MRE) project in one of the most affected districts, Duy Xuyen. Information gathered from local communities during the MRE sessions indicated a very clear need for the clearance of explosive remnants of war in Duy Xuyen District, and other districts similarly affected in Quang Nam Province.
As a follow-up to the MRE project, in September 2014, DDG commenced a UXO clearance project in Duy Xuyen District. The overall goal of the project was to remove the threat from ERW from the most contaminated communes in the district where the local population are most at risk and where land can be used for community development, in response to reports from community representatives and local authorities. During the project implementation process DDG were awarded the Certificate of Merit from the Quang Nam authorities, for the efforts the organisation has made to create safety and promote socio-economic development in the province through the clearance of ERW.
On completion of the project in December 2016, DDG had cleared a total of 885 evidence points and 178 dangerous areas, and released a total of 288,337m2 back to the local communities. DDG destroyed a total of 2,491 UXO and conducted activities in a total of 244 villages, exceeding the targeted 176 villages. In a 2016 impact monitoring survey, 61.6% of respondents reported that Safety and Security had been improved because of DDG’s clearance of ERW, and 20% of respondents reported that accessibility to Natural Assets had improved because of the clearance of ERW.
Due to the success of the UXO project, and since there is still a great need for landmine and munitions clearance in Quang Nam Province, DDG has begun a new project to clear a further 144 villages, clearing and releasing an additional 240,000 m2 of agricultural land.