The President's Trip to Brunei and Vietnam

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Office of the Press Secretary
(Hanoi, Socialist Republic of Vietnam)

For Immediate Release November 18, 2000


U.S. Humanitarian Demining in Vietnam

Vietnam is among the countries most severely affected by landmines and unexploded ordnance. There are an estimated 3.5 million landmines left over from various conflicts. Many of these mines are homemade mines from recycled unexploded ordnance (UXO). There are about 300,000 tons of UXO in Vietnam. Each year, Vietnamese suffer over 2,000 casualties from landmines and unexploded ordnance.

The Vietnamese have had an ongoing demining and UXO program, However, as a result of increased dialogue on this and other issues, the Vietnamese joined the United States, in June of this year, in a Humanitarian Demining program. As a result of this cooperative program, the United States has provided:

  • Over $3.1 million in support of Vietnamese humanitarian demining efforts — $1.7 million of which was designated for the purchase of equipment, including vehicles, personal safety equipment and landmine/UXO detectors and support;

  • $1.4 million to initiate a much needed "level one" national survey to help determine the scope of the problem and make recommendations for addressing it. A visit to Vietnam by survey experts is scheduled before the end of the year to begin preliminary planning for this project.

  • $200,000 to develop a computer system and a database that will tell the Vietnamese the location of mines and the location and type of ordnance used in Vietnam during the war. The site survey for this project is being done in conjunction with the President's visit.

  • $80,000 for a computer system that will help the Vietnamese manage their demining/UXO program.

  • In 1998, the Department of State provided funding for a mine-awareness program in Dong Ha, in the Quang Tri Province, implemented by Peacetrees International (an NGO) and James Madison University. The Mine Awareness Project has provided funding and training for local residents and was designed to allow trainees to carry out mine-awareness training in their own villages.

  • Since 1991, USAID's Leahy War Victims Fund has provided more than $15 million to provide rehabilitation services for adults and children and advance the standard of prosthetics technology, including:

    • More than 50,000 orthopedic devices fit and delivered;
    • The Vietnamese Disability Act signed and passed;
    • More than 300 rehabilitation personnel provided with standard technical training;
    • Nine rehabilitation centers renovated and upgraded; and
    • Public and private sector partnerships.

This month, a delegation of Vietnamese demining experts completed an extensive visit to the United States to learn about the latest demining management and technologies. The delegation visited several U.S. Army bases for briefings and demonstrations of the latest demining technology and U.S. training standards.

Since 1993, the United States has contributed more than $400 million for humanitarian demining around the world and will add nearly $100 million more in FY 2001.

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