UXO-free land new home to farmers from flood-prone areas

Binh Dinh, October 2020 — In anticipation of this year’s flood and storm season, farmers living in the flood-prone areas have been relocated to a higher area in Cat Nhon commune, Phu Cat district in Binh Dinh province.

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For many years, Ms. Nguyen Thi Sen, 61, in Cat Nhon commune, Phu Cat district in Binh Dinh province, experienced water coming into her house in flooding season. “I used to be scared when flooding season came,” said Ms. Sen. “I often had to put my belongings up and take my children and the cow to the house of family or friends until the flooding passed.

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This year is different. Three months ago, Ms. Sen was provided with a plot of land above the flood plain. She had her new house built and the construction completed in time for her and her children to move in before the flooding season started. “I am no longer worried about flooding,” she said.

Ms. Sen’s is among the 29 families who have been relocated from the lowland to this higher area. The local government provided each family with 200 square meters of land and VND20 million to build houses in anticipation of this year’s flooding season.

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This safe area is part of the 9,000 hectares of land that had been surveyed and cleared from unexploded ordnance (UXO) and landmines by the Korea-Viet Nam Mine Action project. In October 2020, leaders of the Viet Nam National Mine Action Centre (VNMAC), the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Viet Nam officially handed over the map with post-clearance land and documents to the local government and communities for socio-economic development.

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At the handover ceremony, both UNDP Resident Representative Ms. Caitlin Wiesen and KOICA Country Director Mr. Cho Han-Deog highly appreciated the dedication and effort of the survey and clearance teams in ensuring that the work was carried out safely, at high quality, and on schedule, despite challenges caused by COVID-19 and the weather conditions.

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I am so moved to hand over the documents of 9.000 hectares of surveyed and cleared land in Binh Dinh, one of most UXO contaminated provinces in Viet Nam,” Ms. Wiesen said. “UNDP is honored to partner with VNMAC and KOICA to extend this work and release land for people’s development.”

KOICA Country Director Mr. Cho Han-Deog handed over Binh Dinh map with post-clearance lands to Vice Chair of Phu Cat District People’s Committee Ms. Nguyen Thi Tuyet. “The creation of this map is the result of tireless efforts from all the parties during the past two years. The final goal of the project is not just about freeing the land from UXO and landmines,” he stressed.

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“Clean and safe land is the start of the development process. Therefore, UXO clearance priorities should be aligned with broader development plans. And we anticipate the cleared land that has been handed over to Binh Dinh will be prioritized for socio-economic development.”

More than four decades after the war, 40% (nearly 250,000 hectares) of Binh Dinh province’s land area remains contaminated with UXO and landmines. The ‘Korea-Viet Nam Mine Action Project’ was launched in March 2018 to strengthen the governance and management of national mine action activities, as well as to promote people’s safety and development in areas contaminated with UXO in Binh Dinh and Quang Binh provinces.

The project has provided a large area of clean and safe land for the province’s development and local people’s expansion of production, especially for the construction of social infrastructures such as health care centers and schools,” said Vice-Chair of Phu Cat District People’s Committee Ms. Nguyen Thi Tuyet.

The USD20 million project is funded by the Government of Korea, through KOICA, and implemented by VNMAC and UNDP. The project has so far surveyed over 17,000 hectares of land and cleared 5,200 hectares of contaminated areas, providing more land for development projects. Meanwhile, a large database of 31,003 persons with disabilities, including 4,579 UXO survivors was created; COVID-19 response packages with essential goods were provided to around 6,000 UXO survivors and their families; and nearly 150,000 local students and people educated about how to remain safe in the mine-affected environment. (Read more about the project)

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