WW2 Memorial Day and the Threat of Unexploded Ordnance: Russian Roulette
Not only are the civilians of Ilovaisk facing a humanitarian crisis, the threat of unexploded ordnance from the fighting also looms large. Now, small but dedicated teams are trying to dispose of the ordnance before more civilians get hurt.
Sithon will treasure this planting season as a special one: for the first time since the Vietnam War he could seed his rice safely, after MAG cleared almost 400 explosive weapons from his land.
"There were bombies [the local term for cluster submunitions] everywhere." Fifty-nine year old Sithon Manyvong recalls returning home to Naphia in 1975 after the Vietnam War had ended.
Naphia village is in Phaxay district, one of the areas of Xieng Khouang province most affected by unexploded ordnance (UXO) – the bombies, rockets, missiles, mortars and grenades that did not explode when they were used, continuing to pose a risk of detonation.
BANGKOK, April 2 (Reuters) - A suspected World War II bomb exploded in the Thai capital as scrap metal workers tried to cut it open with a blow torch, killing at least seven people and injuring 19, police said.
Construction workers found the shell at a construction site and brought it to a warehouse on the outskirts of Bangkok to be cut up.
"We believe the bomb dates back to World War Two and weighed about 227 kg. As they probably did not know (what to do), they used a blow torch to try to cut open the bomb," said police superintendent Kamthorn Uicharoen.
The Vietnamese government and international partners will mobilise all resources to overcome the consequences of unexploded ordnance (UXO) left over from the war, according to Don Tuan Phong, Vice President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO).
He noted that many organisations had joined Vietnam in the endeavour over the past 20 years, contributing 10-15 million USD every year.
The organisations also assisted the country in drawing charts of areas polluted by UXOs as well as building a database on bombs, mines and other ordnance, he added.
We were going through folders tonight looking for a set of pix for a story in works, and tripped over this memory, of a Syrian friend who had stepped away from the car for a few minutes and came walking back with a pair of unexploded submunitions he had found in a ditch.
No matter how emphatically we asked him to put them down, he just kept walking around with them. Finally, slightly amused, he heaved back and threw them, baseball-style, one by one, toward those shrubs you can see over his right shoulder.
This is a too-common behavior in Syria.
Never handle unexploded ordnance. Leave it alone, mark the area near it, warn others of its presence and notify the authorities, an NGO or a professional who can evaluate next steps.