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UPDATED: 11:32, April 04, 2007
21 pct of Vietnam land area still affected by war-era ordnance
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Landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) are still in 6 million hectares of land in Vietnam or over 21. 1 percent of the country's land surface area, according to a UN agency in Vietnam on Wednesday.

"According to Vietnam's Ministry of Defense's Technology Center on Unexploded Ordnance and Landmine Disposal, around 600,000 tons of war-era ordnance remain in the ground throughout Vietnam... It is estimated that from the end of the Vietnam-American war in 1975 to the year 2000, 42,135 people were killed by landmines and UXO and a further 62,163 additional people were injured," the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said in a press release.

According to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund of the United States, during the 1965-1975 Vietnam War, the U.S. Armed Forces deployed more than 15 million tons of bombs, mines, artillery shells and other ordnance in the country, in which 10 percent did not detonate as designed.

Vietnamese scrap collectors often saw UXO for metal and explosive, while small children play ammunitions by breaking them, resulting in hundreds of deaths and injuries annually.

The UN General Assembly has declared April 4th the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

Source: Xinhua

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