01 August 2014
Click on the link to get more news and video from original source: http://www.kpl.net.la/english/news/edn6.htm
(KPL) UXO Lao still lacks financial supports to ensure its unexploded ordnance clearance efforts in Huaphanh, Luang Prabang and Khammuane provinces.
“If we could not ensure financial supports are provided for those provinces, the three provinces would have to stand down their operations and that will have impact on the implementation of the MDG9 targets,”said the Minister to the Government Office cum the Chairman of the National Regulatory Authority for UXO/Mine Action Sector in Lao PDR, Mr Bounheuang Douangphachanh.
He told a gathering to mark the 4th Anniversary of the Entry into Force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions “Oslo Convention”in Vientiane last Friday that the UXO Lao’s employees would be unemployed which will finally bring negative impacts to their livelihood conditions.
“2015 is the final year of implementing the MDGs and also the 5th year of the Oslo convention implementation. So, meeting all of our targets in the UXO sector will be a huge challenge.
We have to focus on UXO survey and clearance by at least 20,000 ha per year to contribute to development focus areas at central and local levels, and to infrastructure development projects of the government,” said Mr Bounheuang.
More than 20,000 people have been killed or injured by the UXO since 1964; thousands of those survivors and their families still need ongoing support.
“Much more has to be done in this regard. In the coming year we have to strengthen the general health care system in Lao PDR and improve the services provided to UXO survivors and their relatives; expand UXO risk education into the primary and secondary school curriculum as well as with UXO contaminated communities across the country to advance the achievement of MDG 9 and the obligations of Oslo Convention,”Mr Bounheuang said.
He urged the international community and donor countries to increase the support for this important work and hoped that the international organisations and civil society will continue to strongly help Lao PDR address UXO problem in the future.
Between September 2013 and June 2014, over 4,900 ha of land have been cleared of unexploded ordnance with 72,346 items of UXO destroyed; including 43,897 cluster munitions, 263 big bombs, 73 mines and 28,113 other UXO items.In addition, operators have conducted the UXO risk education in many schools and communities across the country with a total of 176,309 participants have benefitted from these activities, including 90,963 adults and 85,346 children.
As a consequence the number of UXO casualties reduced from an average of 300 in 2008 down to 56 in 2012 and from September 2013 to June 2014 were 47 people.
In addition, the National Strategy Plan for UXO Victim Assistance 2014-2020 has already been approved which will provide better support to UXO survivors.
Posted: Jan 21, 2014
Click on the link to get more news and video from original source: http://legaciesofwar.org/press-releases/press-release-u-s-funding-for-uxo-clearance-in-laos-reaches-historic-high/
U.S. Funding for UXO Clearance in Laos Reaches Historic High
Legacies of War successfully advocates for $12 million in 2014
Washington, DC, January 21, 2014: Legacies of War today announced that the U.S. will be spending $12 million in fiscal year 2014 for unexploded ordnance (UXO) clearance, victim assistance and risk education in Laos. The funding was included in the recent omnibus spending bill passed by Congress and signed by President Obama. The amount represents the largest annual spending by the U.S. to support various groups in Laos working to improve clearance efficiency, lower casualty rates and support current victims.
Legacies of War, a Washington-based nonprofit, has worked hard to focus the attention of the U.S. on the problem of UXO in Laos. “We are pleased to see that the U.S. government is stepping up to meet its responsibility to ensure that the unexploded bombs leftover from the Vietnam War era are finally cleared. We are grateful for the ongoing commitment of the policy makers in Washington and our partners in Laos who are dedicated to solving this four-decade old problem,” said Brett Dakin, Chair of the Board of Legacies of War.
From 1964 to 1973, Laos was involved in the Indochina conflict, and was subjected to the heaviest bombing campaign in history with approximately two million tons of ordnance dropped on the country. Of the 270 million cluster bombs dropped, about thirty-percent never exploded, leaving an estimated 80 million bomblets littering 14 of the 17 provinces in Laos.
“The tragic legacy of cluster munitions in Laos is one that all Americans should care about. I hope the additional funds in fiscal year 2014 will become part of a multi-year program to finally overcome this cruel history and enable the Laotian people to rebuild their lives,” said Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that funds UXO clearance programs around the world.
Since the end of the bombing, the U.S. has provided $74M, including the $12M in FY14, for UXO activities in Laos. Of the total amount, $32 million, or forty-percent, has been allocated in the last five years.
“No doubt there’s been tremendous progress in the UXO Lao sector in recent years due to increased visibility, funding and collaboration among stakeholders. However, this is still a huge problem for the people of Laos – less than one-percent of the littered land has been cleared and there are currently over 10,000 victims in Laos,” said Channapha Khamvongsa, Executive Director of Legacies of War. The latest victims resulted from an accident that occurred during the first week of 2014 when six children in Boulikhamxay Province, ages 8 to 12 were injured, and three of whom died. Forty-percent of victims are children.
Founded in 2004, Legacies of War raises awareness about the history of the Vietnam War-era bombing in Laos and advocates for the clearance of unexploded bombs, provides space for healing the wounds of war, and creates greater hope for a future of peace. Legacies of War plans to continue raising awareness and facilitating dialogue to resolve the UXO problem in Laos in the next decade.
Ms. Channapha Khamvongsa
1312 9th Street NW
Washington, DC 20002